In Denmark, Finland is not primarily known for its meat products. John Nielsen, Director of JN Meat, is working hard to increase awareness of the high quality of Finnish meat among Danes.


How did your cooperation with Atria begin?

“A few years ago, we were cooperating closely with Atria, mainly in the Spanish market. Then there was a break, but our cooperation continued after a few years. Before that, I travelled around to find new suppliers of high-quality meat. I made enquiries and visited various European countries. During that time, I noticed that only a few countries were able to match the quality provided by Finns.”


 How do Atria’s values match your company’s values?
“Our motto at JN Meat is that we are not the largest, but we want to be the best. I found beef with a very high eating quality in Finland. I could immediately see that its colour was better, and it tasted excellent as well. Atria delivers extremely high quality, which is important these days. Danish consumers are more and more aware of what they want to eat, and they increasingly appreciate the taste sensations provided by meat. Previously, it was enough that meat was tender. Its taste was a secondary factor, as lots of sauces were used. Today, their expectations are much higher with regard to meat, and my company represents high quality.”

 What is the composition of your client base?
“Supermarkets and butcher’s shops represent around 50 per cent of our client base, and restaurants constitute the other half. We also engage in wholesale exports to countries like Spain and Portugal, which already have strong food cultures. Our clients have one thing in common: they have high expectations with regard to the eating quality of meat.”


 How do your clients respond to Finnish meat?
“It is evident that Finnish meat is not well-known in Denmark, so its Finnish origin is not yet a selling point. We have to increase awareness first. We have to provoke curiosity and show our clients that Finnish meat is just as good as we claim that it is. For this reason, we are strongly investing in product demonstrations: we fry meat at supermarkets, so customers can have a taste. We also invite restaurant managers to visit, fry them a tasty piece of meat and serve it just with bread, to do justice to its taste. Good meat is like good wine: people will not appreciate its quality until they have had a taste.”


What feedback have you had from people who have tasted Finnish meat?
“They are very satisfied with its quality after we have convinced them to try a taste. It is clear that Finnish meat is not the cheapest kind of meat, as the production process is highly selective. Unlike meat producers in many other countries, Finnish producers pay a great deal of attention to feeding the animals in a manner that produces the best possible quality meat. You can simply taste that the animal had a good life. Many people here want their meat to be Danish. I pay more attention to its quality.”