Dan Cake Portugal: How a Portuguese company became the world’s second largest producer of Danish butter biscuits.
bbi: Danish Butter Cookies from Portugal, at first glance this seems to be an unusual symbiosis. How did it come about?
Dan Cake: At the time we founded the company, it was difficult to import products from other countries. Our strategy was therefore to build a diversified product portfolio with different technologies in Portugal. Since butter cookies are very popular, we decided to invest in the purchase of production lines to be able to produce them in our own country. Incidentally, today we are the only company outside Denmark that produces Danish Butter Cookies.
bbi: In Portugal you are the market leader in the category, “Bolos Familiares”…
Dan Cake: …which is mainly because of our sponge rolls, the Swiss Rolls. In 1978 we started with industrially produced Swiss Rolls on the Portuguese market. Since then, we have held the number 1 position in the domestic market.
bbi: What do you produce at each of the two locations?
Dan Cake: Coimbra produces most of our cookies, biscuits, croissants, cupcakes, ladyfingers and popcorn. The Lisbon plant produces the Swiss Rolls, cakes, toasts, crackers, puff pastry and sandwich biscuits. At both locations we employ about 250 people in peak season. The plant in Coimbra has a production area of 18,000 m2; Lisbon is larger with 24,000 m2.
bbi: What percentage is your export share?
Dan Cake: It is around 75 %. Our many (main) markets include the USA, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Austria, South Korea, Japan, China, Chile and Brazil.
bbi: Where do you see your greatest growth opportunities?
Dan Cake: Our main focus is on Spain, Germany and the USA. We believe that our position in these markets does not match their potential and that there are opportunities and synergies that will lead to additional volume.
Dan Cake Portugal
The history of Dan Cake Portugal SA began in 1978, when the company started manufacturing biscuit rolls (Swiss Rolls). The equipment and know-how was brought in from Denmark. This step was significant and shaped the company with “Danish” becoming part of the company’s own DNA. Further technologies and competences from the Scandinavian country have been added. Today, the group is the world’s second largest producer of butter cookies made to the original Danish recipe and one of the main producers of branded crisps.
Dan Cake Portugal exports to more than 70 countries. With 16 lines at two locations, the company has a production capacity of 55 tons per year. Two plants belong to it: one in central Portugal, in Coimbra, and a second in Portugal’s capital Lisbon. In addition to butter cookies in various forms, the portfolio includes many other biscuits as well as crackers, toasts, rusks and cakes. Dan Cake Portugal produces half of its production volume as a private label, the other half is under its own brands Dan Cake, Danesita and Danor. Customers include international retail groups such as Walmart, Mercadona, Lidl, Carrefour, Continente, Pingo Doce, Park and Shop and Aldi. Website: https://danesita.com
The Lisbon plant produces the Swiss Rolls, cakes, toasts, crackers, puff pastry and sandwich biscuits
bbi: What makes your company stand out?
Dan Cake: The extensive product portfolio that we manufacture using various technologies. It also includes our ability to customize and create products to meet the specific needs of consumers and customers. Of course we have all the necessary quality certifications.
In addition to “Raspberries & 5 Cereals”, the new “No-Added-Sugar” range also includes the varieties “Chai & Ginger” and “Cocoa”. Each carton contains 4 portion packs
bbi: What investments are you planning in the near future?
Dan Cake: Recently, we have invested in parts of the existing equipment to improve the efficiency of the production lines. We plan to invest in the packaging systems of some of our lines to adapt them to the changing needs of consumers and markets.
bbi: Do you see different trends in particular regions?
Dan Cake: In Asia, more attention is being paid to the perfection and complexity of packaging and smaller package sizes, whereas in Europe, there is more focus on the more efficient use of packaging and ways to reduce packaging volume. But this is just one example amongst many.
Organic quality butter cookies
bbi: Where do you see the biggest challenges on the biscuit market?
Dan Cake: As far as distance is concerned, we can say that we have a greater challenge in Asia and America. As far as product/quality/innovation is concerned, our challenge is to maintain our competitiveness and at the same time develop products with added value, such as our free-from range, but without compromising on enjoyment.
Dan Cake Portugal produces Danish butter cookies in different variations
bbi: Dan Cake Portugal was an exhibitor at the ISM. What novelties did you show in Cologne in January 2020?
Dan Cake: Amongst other things, we presented 2 completely new product series. The new range “No Added Sugar”, which includes three biscuit varieties, and our new organic range “Vita Organic” with five biscuit varieties. A real innovation is our clean-label product, a biscuit with only four ingredients.
bbi: Thank you very much for the interview.