For the Hegelunds, innovation is something that runs in the family. Ever since the first Hegelund arrived in Norway, the family has adapted and refined both their own traditions and the culture they came in to. Therefore it’s only natural that their next step is to work with chefs, consumers and scientists to innovate new foods for the future.
As soon as the first Hegelund, Morten, arrived in the Arctic, he started experimenting with food. Hailing from an educated family in Denmark, he was used to preparing his food not only for survival, but also for a culinary experience, and started adapting and innovating his old recipes to fit the new ingredients from the north. Today, the direct descendant of this man, Frode Klingenberg, has had the same thoughts and ideas, only this time he is able to take advantage of how far food science has come in developing possibilities for preservation and innovation.
New world, new demands
Rushing in from different meetings, I sit down with CEO Frode Klingenberg and Chairman Erik Rosen to try and understand this next step they ‘re planning. While Erik has comprehensive knowledge about life sciences, Frode has the gene of innovation and starts our meeting with telling me that one of the new goals for House of Hegelund is to become part of the food innovation industry. As the global demand for food is increasing, new technologies to design sustainable and healthy food is under development, and arctic food should be included in this innovative business, they explain.
It’s at the intersection between science, consumer demands and arctic ingredients that food innovation will find it ́s place, they continue, designing new ways to eat, present and produce food.
The Arctic is a region overflowing with it both on land and at sea, and with Norway being responsible for about 54% of the global production of Arctic salmon at the same time only 2% of the cloudberries in the Arctic is harvested, there is plenty of room for innovation.
“We want to look at how we can invent new combinations of food”, Erik says, “and the way to do this is to start with the consumer’s preferences”.
And what has become apparent is that the consumer today is first and foremost interested in quality, the convenience of doorstep delivery and sustainable production. This is why House of Hegelund has set up a web shop where anyone can order their products and have them delivered within a few days, and why they work with scientists to reduce food waste in the production of both fish and berries.
“From a sustainability point of view it’s better for everyone if we can use more plant based ingredients and reduce waste when processing fish and animals”, Erik tells me as he explains how House of Hegelund is engaged in R&D to accomplish such goals. “The combination of arctic ingredients, local production and innovation will satisfy the most demanding consumers; those who wont compromise the quality of the food and who are also dedicated to taking care of our planet.”
Growing up in the north of Norway, Frode has in many ways always had something to do with the fishing and aquaculture business. And as Norway exports more than 2.7 million tons of seafood every year, Frode soon began to wonder why they didn’t refinemore of the fish in the region where it was actually harvested, why couldn’t they keep the jobs at the same time potentially improve the quality?
“The Arctic is such a respected brand in the world, we should be able to bring this to a finish in our own region.”
“The Arctic is such a respected brand in the world, we should be able to bring this to a finish in our own region”, he tells me, “so something we’re really passionate about is creating more jobs in the area and work with both scientists and other companies to make sure the region can reach its full potential!” Cooperation is an important part of this step for House of Hegelund, and they hope to be able to work together with other companies already involved in the region to give not only the local food industry, but also the tourist industry, a communal lift. “For us, arctic food is part of the palette of adventures we want to make available to travelers visiting our region”, he explains.
Innovate food production
Within the next few years, House of Hegelund will strive to become part of a market that works to innovate food production by lifting ingredients up the food chain, saving the environment and producing more nutritious food at the same time. In addition to the fish however, the Arctic region is also full of other natural resources, like nutritious berries and seaweed that can be harvested and prepared in new combinations to create new dishes. “We want to be known for quality, and we want to be around for a long time”, Erik tells me as he explains how they want to work with local chefs to develop distinct arctic products and tastes.
“We want to be known for quality, and we want to be around for a long time.”
The chefs, he tells me, are the link between the ingredients and the culinary experiences, and plans for the future include food-tasting sessions with both consumers and chefs.
No matter the new inventions however, the main goal of this endeavor is to produce healthy food in a sustainable manner that can adapt to the new habits and demands of a changing food industry. “In twenty years the arctic kitchen is going to be recognized across the world”, Frode tells me, “and House of Hegelund will be the go to company for quality ingredients and consumer adapted food.”