Once upon a time… This is how all great stories used to start a long time ago. Including ours, which started in 1972. In a time when pioneer spirit, a sense of community and awareness of the environment were starting to appear. When organic food was still in the beginning stages, when coffee from developing countries had not even dreamed of the fact that it would be renamed fair trade and when all this was an idealistic matter of the heart to a few people. But to Urtekram's founders, Lisbeth Damsgaard and Ronnie McGrail, this time became the beginning of a journey that was going to make Denmark much greener and more aware.
Lisbeth Damsgaard and Ronnie McGrail started this journey with a small herb merchant shop in urban Copenhagen. Here, they sold a little bit of everything, but all of it with emphasis on the natural, simple and pure life style. The entrepreneur spirit quickly seized the two organic pioneers, and soon, the shop has been replaced by the founding of the company Urtekram. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Urtekram and the organic concept in general moved slowly and steadily towards a knowledge that spread beyond the very closed, small circle of former eco enthusiasts. "The greens", as they were also called back then.
In the beginning of the 1990s, a development that helped speed up the penetration of organic products really took off, particularly in larger Danish towns. And Urtekram was in the lead when Coop decided that organic products should really be mainstream. Today, our products are sold in pretty much all supermarkets and health food shops. In some places with an enormous selection spread out across many metres in the shops, in other places as a nice, little selection with a few, well-chosen products.
We have actually grown significantly in recent years. And growth is a goal to us. Because, the more organic products we develop and sell, the more good we can do with regard to the environment, health and responsible food production. Therefore, we have for example built a new large warehouse close to the motorway E45 in Hobro, meaning that the connection between us and the shops has now moved even closer and the environmental impact has been minimised. Moreover, we are still maintaining our goal of developing between 80 and 100 new products each year and of not forgetting the consequences of the impact we make on the environment throughout all links from production and transport to packaging and ingredients. In fact, all the way down to the waste bins from our organic canteen in Mariager, where we now reuse the organic food waste for compost.
The pioneer spirit still permeates everything that we do. We have always fought for a sustainable world and for products that live up to our points of view. And we will keep doing that. Even though we are now much bigger than back in 1972, when it all began, the innovation, commitment and passion is still the same.