The History of Danish Bacon
How do you eat yours? However you eat it, you’ve probably never thought about the history of bacon. But simplicity on a plate takes time to develop. Years of hard work – centuries, in fact. But we’ve done it. The Danepak brand was born in the 1960s, but the story of Danish bacon starts way back in the 1700s.
In the Beginning…
Factory production of bacon begins in the late 1700s. Ready your forks – Danepak hits the scene in a mere 150ish years.
The Bacon Machine
The Industrial Revolution began around 1860 and was great for bacon-lovers everywhere. Bigger and better equipment meant more bacon and Denmark began exporting more meat to the UK. A regular trade route opened in 1874 when the Port of Esbjerg was built.
On 14 July in 1887 the first co-operative meat company was founded in Horsens, Denmark. Working together meant more bacon, and this was the beginning of what would become Danepak.
Bacon Agents Become a Thing…
The Danish Bacon Agency in London opened in the early 1900s to deal with all our UK exports. We’re fairly sure being a Bacon Agent by profession is probably the best job ever.
The Bacon Shortage
World War One meant less bacon for everyone. From 1914-1918, resources were in short supply and bacon production fell.
Bacon, Glorious Bacon
From 1920-1930, Danish bacon imports to the UK reach nearly 400,000 tonnes – supplying over six times the amount of the next biggest exporter, Poland.
By 1939, the Great Depression was drawing to a close, but disaster was to strike yet again – bacon rationing was introduced. The Second World War began the same year and lasted until 1945. Entire shipments of our beloved bacon were seized in the channel, with over 6,500 tonnes being lost at sea.
In 1955, Danish bacon became one of the first food products to be advertised on television. By 1958, the Danish logo was being branded on the rind of the meat and the slogan ‘Good bacon has Danish written all over it’ was born, making Danish bacon a household name across Britain.
Danepak is born in 1961. The 1960s were the era of home cooking and mums were looking for a quick meal they could throw together for their families. This Danepak ad features the slogan ‘Raise your bacon standards’ showing our beloved brand on top of a flagpole. The traditional family setup can be seen in the bottom right corner, with mum offering us a full English, placing Danepak at the heart of family meal times.
The Danish ‘Sizzle’
Throughout the 1970s, the Danish ‘sizzle’ becomes known across the UK, appearing on ad campaigns everywhere.
Now That’s What I Call Music!
The famous slogan for the biggest selling compilation album began life in the early 1980s on our Danish bacon poster, which Richard Branson saw when he visited a bric-a-brac shop in London. He bought it as a joke for his cousin, Simon Draper – then the head of A&R at Virgin Records – who was known for being grumpy before breakfast. When talking about potential names for the new album the poster caught their eye, and the rest, as they say, is history!
The 1980s were all about wowing your friends and family with delicious new meals. Take a look at this Danepak ad from 1986 – with the heading ‘You’ve never had bacon like this before’, readers were shown a new way to prepare bacon. With seductive photography and lavish decoration, Danepak reinvented bacon as a luxury anyone could enjoy.
With the pace of life picking up again in the 1990s, more mums than ever were working and looking after the kids. Danepak’s Rapid Rashers were a great choice for families on the go, with TV ads of the time showing just how fast you could make bacon a part of your morning routine.
During the first half of the 1990s, Danish Crown (Danepak’s parent company) introduce the Danish Quality Guarantee – the best quality care, welfare and environmental standards –across all pig farms and abattoirs in the co-operative.
Our bacon has always been delicious, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that this became the focus of Danepak’s ads. With life busier than ever, quality downtime became even more important to people, and so Danepak bacon became about creating the ‘Perfekt Moment’.
Home Sweet Home
Danepak moved to Redruth in 2007 – the home of Danepak in the UK.
One Tonne for You, One for Me…
Now, over 250,000 tonnes of bacon arrive in the UK from Denmark every year and the Danish ‘sizzle’ is still a well-recognised hallmark of quality bacon in the UK.