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NUTRITION

A vegetarian’s guide to surviving in Denmark

It's not always easy to be a vegetarian in a country with a hot dog stand seemingly on every corner, but The Local's contributor Sparsh Sharma spoke with a few fellow vegetarians in the Aarhus area to come up with this mini guide.

It’s a hard life for vegetarians in Denmark, a country known for its huge consumption of meat, especially pork and beef. Just ask the 80 members of Raw Vegans Community in Aarhus, a Facebook group started to help fellow vegans and vegetarians make up for the lack of information on the right type of nutrition and where to find it. 
 
Being a vegetarian myself, I had to adjust to limited food items available in the supermarkets upon arrival in Denmark. So I was interested in finding out how some others were adjusting to these conditions.
 
Kirsten Vernon from Aars was about 19 when she decided to go vegan and later turned vegetarian. 
 
“I had many vegans in my network and had seen ‘riots’ against cruel treatment of animals by the meat industry that views them only as food and not living beings. I lived in Austria at that time and to be a vegan was quite exotic. But I had made my decision. It’s also a good way to detox your body,” she says.
 
Vernon got funny reactions from her family and friends and it took her time to adjust to her new lifestyle. 
 
“I lived in a small mountain town where it was normal to eat meat every day, like it is in Denmark. National dishes are only with meat in Austria. And it was quite difficult to find vegan and vegetarian food in the local supermarkets,” she says.
 
However, according to her, it was not an uphill task to learn new recipes. 
 
“As a teenager, I had many fasting periods and it was a natural thing for me to control my food patterns in order to enjoy food and beverages in a qualitative, instead of a quantitative, way,” she says. 
 
“Moreover, I have lived in cities like Berlin and Hamburg, where it is easy to try a lot of different dishes from around the world. That always gave me inspiration to be creative in the kitchen with recipes with no meat.”
 
Vernon has since added eggs and fish to her diet.
 
“I think it is better to be a vegetarian than a vegan. You learn how to control your food patterns and listen to your body. Fasting is also a very good way to do this.”
 
Kirsten Vernon takes a selfie with her favourite tofu
Kirsten Vernon takes a selfie with her favourite tofu.
 
Vernon rues the fact that Danish supermarkets do not sell a lot of vegetarian food.
 
“Germany is a dream destination for shopping vegetarian food. The supermarkets, especially the bio-markets, in Germany have a fantastic variety of healthy vegetarian food as well as fast food. In Denmark, this might happen someday but it will be a long way for this pig-rearing country to consume lesser meat.”
 
Another long-time vegetarian in Denmark, Janna Kelley says that although it’s not easy being a vegetarian in Denmark, it is becoming easier. 
 
“For example, if you go to just about any restaurant and request a vegetarian dish to be made specially for you, most of them are more than happy to do it. I have also often called restaurants ahead of time to request for a vegetarian dish and they appreciated it,” she says. 
 
Kelley shared with me some alternative protein food items and where to find them in Aarhus:
 
Quinoa – Ren Kost organic store on Jægergårdsgade 45, Aarhus C. Also, increasingly common in stores like Føtex. (You can read more about Quinoa here)
 
Soya – Salling food market. The brand is called Garden Gourmet, found in the frozen food section.
 
Pinto Beans – Føtex or any organic shop
 
Tofu – Føtex or any organic shop
 
Janna also recommended these restaurants with vegetarian options in Aarhus: Drudenfuss, Råbar, Den Grønne Papaya, and Pita Bar. More vegetarian-friendly Aarhus restaurants can be found here.
 
For those of you struggling with vegetarian recipes, Kelley suggests checking out some of these: here are some links suggested by her:
 
 
Zesty Quinoa Cakes (her personal favourite) 
 
 
She also suggested making veggie stir fry, spaghetti, casserole dishes, or just about any recipe that calls for meat, and then substituting it with soya.
 
Sparsh SharmaSparsh Sharma holds a Master's in business administration and a Bachelor's in electrical engineering. After having worked in the top Indian media companies, he decided to come to Denmark in the fall of 2012 to study at Aarhus University and later worked at Lego. A Danish green card holder, he is currently looking for marketing or consulting opportunities globally, while working as a freelance journalist for The Local Denmark and blogging about his experiences in Denmark at Denmark.dk, where this piece originally appeared. You can follow him on Twitter at @sparsh_s
 

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MONEY

Why coffee could cost more for Danish consumers in 2022

The price of raw coffee beans recently reached its highest level for ten years, media in Scandinavia report, a trend which is likely to impact consumer prices in the region.

A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup.
A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup. File photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

Raw coffee currently costs more than at any time in the last decade, Norwegian financial media E24 reported on Tuesday.

A doubling of the cost per kilo during the last year, reported by E24 in the summer, has been followed by further increased in recent months. The current price of 37 Norwegian kroner (28.3 Danish kroner) per kilogram is the highest for a decade, the media writes.

That is in spite of a strengthening of Norway’s currency against the US dollar, according to E24. The Danish krone is also currently strong.

Because raw coffee beans are always traded in dollars, with prices set by the New York Stock Exchange a strong exchange rate should theoretically make the beans cheaper to import to Nordic countries.

“I think we are seeing a new normal when it comes to the industrial market price of coffee,” Ola Brattås, head of imports with Norwegian chain Kaffebrenneriet, told E24.

Higher prices have already made an impression on Danish coffee companies.

Markets for the product are currently uncertain, said Lars Aaen Thøgersen, head of communication and development with Peter Larsen Kaffe.

“It’s been this way for some time. There has been uncertainty around the harvest, particularly in Brazil,” Thøgersen told news wire Ritzau.

Drought in Brazil, linked to illegal rainforest logging and climate change, is reported by E24 as a key factor in coffee prices. The International Coffee Organization’s September 2021 report also mentions weather in Brazil.

That has compounded higher transport costs and general uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

Although companies like Peter Larsen can purchase coffee directly from producers and thereby avoid financial markets, they are unable to avoid knock-om effects of high market values, according to Thøgersen.

“When this happens, all supplies around us are affected. So that naturally also affects our situation,” he said.

That means consumers are likely to also feel the effects at some point down the line, the coffee company spokesperson said.

“Consumers can already feel that prices have gone up now, and it will quite likely also be felt further,” he said.

“But it should also be put into perspective, because if you calculate per cup of coffee, a consumer will only notice a few øre (difference in price),” he also noted.

Supermarket chain Coop, which owns the Kvickly, Superbrugsen and Irma stores in Denmark, is currently negotiating 2022 supplier prices. The outcome of those negotiations is not yet known,” head of information Jens Juul Nielsen told Ritzau.

“How this will be felt on store shelves, we can’t yet say,” Nielsen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy prices hit highest level for nine years

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