A leading meat processor has admitted that it underestimated the plant-based meat sector. - Media Credit: Meatless Farm

‘Europe’s Largest’ Meat Processor Admits It Was ‘Wrong’ To Underestimate Vegan Movement

The CEO of Danish Crown believes meat's impact on the planet will turn it into a 'luxury' product


2 Minutes Read

The CEO of a leading meat producer, Danish Crown, says beef will become a luxury item like champagne due to its negative effect on the planet. Further, the company admits that it underestimated the plant-based movement.

Danish Crown is Europe’s largest meat processing company, according to its website, with market access to more than 130 countries. 

In the financial year 2019-2020, Danish Crown slaughtered 18 million pigs and 0.8 million cattle, its annual report says. 

The future of meat

The company’s CEO, Jais Valeur, recently spoke with Denmark’s Berlingske newspaper about the future of meat. 

“It has become clear to me that the way one consumes and thinks about meat is going to change markedly in the coming years,” Valeur said. 

He’s referring to the public’s increasing concern about the climate emergency. A growing body of research is shining light on the destructive nature of animal agriculture – including deforestation, emissions, biodiversity loss, and pollution. 

Beef, in particular, is said to be one of the least sustainable meats. 

“Beef is not going to be super climate friendly. It will be a bit like champagne, namely a luxury product,” Valeur explained, adding that it will be eaten ‘when we need to pamper ourselves’.

Michael Minter, Program Manager at think tank CONCITO, agreed with Valeur’s remarks. 

“I agree that beef will very much be a luxury product. Beef and dairy products are some of the most climate-damaging foods,” Minter said to Berlingske. “But the alternatives are on the way. I think developing cell- or plant-based alternatives can go pretty fast. It will challenge cattle breeders and slaughterhouses.’

Underestimating the meat-free movement

According to its website, Danish Crown is aiming to halve its climate impact by 2030. Further, the company wants to achieve ‘carbon-neutral production’ by 2050. 

This may be why the 130-year-old meat company has started producing plant-based food, a topic which Valeur himself admits he overlooked.

“When I took office five years ago, Danish Crown was challenged in several areas. At one point, we were asked about plant-based foods and climate by some consultants, but declined that it should be on the agenda,” Valeur said. 

“I probably had my Beatles moment there. Because it was a bit like rejecting the Beatles when they came out. Here, five years later, I would like to admit that we were wrong.”

Millions around the world trust Plant Based News for content about navigating our changing planet & our role in it.

Our independent team of journalists and experts are committed to making an impact through a wide range of content—and you can help by supporting our work today.


The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the Head of Editorial of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studies psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

More by Jemima Webber iconography/arrow-right


Leave a Comment

Plant Based News Comment Policy

In short:- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. Please read our Comment policy before commenting.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
gary fair
gary fair
8 months ago

vegan burgers, no clogged arteries.

8 months ago

There still full of saturated fats to give it some taste and texture, so not totally healthy, just meat free

8 months ago

I will never go for cultured meat doctored from a lab. With the onslaught of autoimmune diseases and due to heavily processed and GMO food, I certainly will not be seduced by fake laboratory meat. They can spin it anyway they like the body is not made for fake meat as we are finding out the same as GMO food. We are heavily paying the price for GMO food and now they want us to eat lab food. We just need to learn to eat little meat, enough to meet our needs. Most people eat it cos a lifestyle as used to it and don’t consider the climate carbon foot print. Just get use to eating less but don’t go down the road of fake food as we need self preserverance as well as preserving the planet!

8 months ago

“I probably had my Beatles moment there. Because it was a bit like rejecting the Beatles when they came out. Here, five years later, I would like to admit that we were wrong.”

Cheers to him! More people should be so honest.