Global advances, local enrichment

Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen plans to advance product diversity and sustainability in Dane County.
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A lab worker at one of Chr. Hansen’s global facilities aids the company’s mission to advance “the power of good bacteria.”

With one of its largest American investments, Chr. Hansen broke ground May 2 on an addition to its Human Health facility, located at 4375 Duraform Lane in the village of Windsor. The facility has been operational since April 2018, but this new project is a response to an increased consumer focus on health and wellness post-pandemic and will try to meet market demand by increasing the facility’s product diversity.

The expansion will add a fermentation line to the Windsor facility’s production floor and double its output capacity over a three-year period. It stands to benefit not only the Madison-area employees who make up its workforce, but the local and global community as well.

The company, a nearly 150-year-old global producer and supplier of probiotics, bacteria cultures, and enzymes, was established in Denmark in 1874 with pharmacist Christian D.A. Hansen’s discovery of a process to standardize and purify rennet for industrial cheese production. For that reason, it comes as no surprise that while it has since established locations around the globe, the company has called America’s Dairyland home for 94 years with headquarters in Milwaukee and three additional Wisconsin locations, including the Windsor facility.

Chr. Hansen’s track record is not just in microbial solutions but also in modeling sustainability. Its microbial and fermentation technology platforms address challenges like climate change and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides, and the company says its 2025 Strategy includes the goal of powering all sites with 100% green electricity.

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Torsten Steenholt, executive vice president of global operations for Chr. Hansen, says the company’s Windsor expansion will help meet a growing demand for probiotics.

Torsten Steenholt, executive vice president of global operations, says Chr. Hansen is embarking on a project of substantial value to “future-proof” its probiotic production capabilities. The addition of a new fermentation line will incorporate improved automation, add new process capabilities, and support a larger workforce.

The plans also include installation of solar panels and the extension of an on-site retention pond, including native flora to increase biodiversity. “In so doing, we are contributing to keeping the lakes clean,” Steenholt notes.

During the company’s 2021–22 fiscal year, 195 million people consumed its probiotics. This brings Chr. Hansen close to its product target of 200 million people consuming probiotics by 2024–25. The capacity expansion of the local facility, Steenholt adds, “should be seen against this backdrop, enabling us to keep up with the increasing demand for probiotics now and in the years to come.”