Tallerken med muslinger dyrket på line.

Organic and delicious, but unknown in Denmark

Tuesday 18 Jun 19


Jens Kjerulf Petersen
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 31 71
Food Organic common mussels are easy to grow on ropes in Denmark. Nevertheless, few find their way to Danish consumers.

Moules Frites—mussels and French fries—an exotic and delicious dish enjoyed by fearless holidaymakers in Belgium or France—and in some cases, it is not only the holidaymakers that hail from afar, but the mussels as well.   The reason for this is that a very large portion of the rope mussels grown in Denmark’s Limfjord are exported to Europe.

However, in Denmark consumers, experts such as cooks and chefs, and retail and catering buyers have extremely limited knowledge of the product.

These are the findings of the Organic Rope Mussel report published by the consulting firm Orange Elevator. Together with DTU Aqua, Orange Elevator has examined the barriers to selling organically grown mussels in Denmark—and offers suggestions on how to break these barriers down.

The study, which is part of a project that falls under the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark’s Green Development and Demonstration Program Grants, is headed by DTU Aqua in collaboration with the mussel industry.

“In the work of preparing the report, Orange Elevator spoke with food experts and discovered that knowledge of organic Danish common mussels is extremely limited. But when they talked about the difference between the common mussel and rope mussels they discovered that people were enthusiastic,” says Professor Jens Kjerulf Petersen, DTU Aqua.

Enthusiasm focuses on mussel quality—e.g. meat quality and the relatively low price—and the fact that the production of organic rope mussels is sustainable and contributes to cleansing the water in the fjords.

Huge Danish potential
“The good news is that there is substantial potential for increasing sales of organic rope mussels in the domestic market and that it can support a growing, sustainable industry,” says Jens Kjerulf Petersen.

More and more rope mussels are grown in Denmark and organic production is also increasing.  Production for human consumption in 2019 is expected to exceed 4,000 tonnes, with more than 95 per cent being organic.

During the project, the processing company Vilsund Blue increased its share of organic mussels sold in Scandinavia from 1 per cent to more than 10 per cent. The authors behind the report suggest alternative ways of raising product awareness: Collaboration with gourmet chefs and institutes of culinary education, food trucks selling organic mussels at festivals, and new ways of working with major supermarket chains.