Investors who wish to open a Danish business for selling food and beverages
need to comply with the requirements for this business sector as well as obtain the relevant permits, license or authorizations, whichever apply in their case (based on whether they open a restaurant, a shop or a food truck).
Company formation in Denmark
is one of the most straightforward in Europe. Starting a food business is relatively simple and foreign entrepreneurs can reach out to our team of agents whenever they require specialized investment aid.
Conditions for a business that sells food and beverages in Denmark
Investors who wish to start a food business, as well as a combined food and beverages business, will need to meet the requirements for the manufacturing of the food products (whenever applicable), the storage of products, the import requirements (if needed) as well as the conditions for selling beverages and especially alcoholic beverages.
A Danish company that sells foods
, imports food from European or non-EU countries needs to be registered with the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
. The registration form will include the following:
- • company details: the CVR number, when applicable, the name of the company, address and contact details.
- • the contact person: the name and contact details for the company representative (and address if it is different from that of the company).
- • details for an EU-approved food business: when applicable, the name of the competent authority that has already approved a movable food business that is brought to Denmark.
- • application reason: the appropriate box will be filled in: starting a new business, taking over an existing one, changing a business, etc.
- • type of business: retail, wholesale (when the customers are mostly other food businesses) or others.
The filled-in form is sent via e-mail to the Veterinary and Food Administration. A representative usually contacts the applicant if they require any additional details.
Foreign entrepreneurs who are already approved as a food business operator in a different EU Member State are exempt from the requirement to receive an approval or register in order to run a temporary food business or a movable (food truck) business. However, in this particular case, the business owner will be required to register as an importer as he will be bringing food for sale in the said location. For foreign entrepreneurs who have this foreign business license, the requirement is to provide the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) with details of the said registration (the foreign authority that approved it as well as the company for which the license was issued – registration number, for example). The information is included in the English application form that is submitted to the DVFA.
Additional requirements related to food processing and production in Denmark
When starting a food business, investors will need to obtain the permits to sell the food but also to process it according to law. Part of the essential regulations for this purpose are the food contact materials rules in Denmark (FCM) that are harmonized with the European regulations concerning this matter.
Food contact materials are all the articles and materials that come into contact with food. Examples include containers, packaging, kitchen equipment, dishes and cutlery. Businesses that sell food do need to comply on the legislation for this purpose when the storing, unpacking and cooking of the products takes place in the establishment (for example, in a food truck or van).
Some relevant rules concerning this issue include the fact that the owner of the establishment needs to submit a declaration of compliance, required for all types of food contact materials. In addition to the European norms, Denmark also imposes additional regulations, such as a ban on the marketing of paper and board food contact materials in which polyfluorinated alkylated substances were used, among others. Companies need to comply with the food safety management system for food contact materials, according to the EU regulations concerning the good manufacturing practice. In essence, companies are required to use for packaging purposes only materials that do not release substances in the food that was fold (in quantities that can be harmful).
Certain food businesses, such as slaughter houses, are subject to additional requirements, control and inspection.
Mobile street vending in Denmark
Some entrepreneurs may wish to open a food truck or, as it is referred to by the authorities, a mobile street vending establishment. A special permit also needs to be obtained in this case and it is limited to the public roads and areas in the City of Copenhagen. Different conditions apply according to the size of the cart, for example:
- when the mobile vending cart is a small one (less than 2.5 m2), the owner is allowed to park it in a public square or on pavements; this applies particularly to carrier biker or coffee scooter trucks, for example;
- large carts (those above the 2.5 m2 limit), for example food trucks or vans, cannot be parked in public places and may only be placed in parking lots;
- certain areas in Copenhagen, Denmark are specifically marked as off-limits to mobile street vending.
Those who use a small mobile vending cart are required to move it every night – this is a mandatory requirement, along with the condition to not leave the vehicle unattended. There is no licensing for mobile street vending during nighttime in the country.
For large vending carts, such as vans, food trucks and registered trailers, the owner will comply with the conditions for legally parking the mobile cart (and to park the vehicle separately, if using a registered trainer). They will also need to pay the parking fees and some of these parking lots can be privately owned, meaning that prior approval from the owner is required.
A permit is valid for one calendar year and the Danish authorities usually answer the application within four weeks.
Individuals who open a mobile food vending establishment will need to pay market rent in order to be able to sell in parks. The price is 3000 DKK (approximately 280 euros), excluding VAT. A mobile food vending business must be registered for VAT if the annual turnover is more than 50,000 DKK.
Small mobile street vending is suitable for some entrepreneurs and the law allows them to sell more than food and drinks. This category is among the most common as it complies with the condition to sell daily commodities that disappear upon consumption. Vendors who are interested in selling different products can also opt to provide special goods, such as jewelry or souvenirs. A change in the assortment is possible (for example, changing from selling souvenirs to food and drinks), however, it must always be notified.
It is important to note that food and beverages can be sold in a mobile food vending establishment, however, entrepreneurs cannot sell alcohol, tobacco, chocolates and sweets, or over-the-counter medicine.
How to open a Danish food and beverages business
As seen above, the licensing process is a very important step when starting a business for selling food and beverages in Denmark. However, before they can apply for the permit, business owners are required to open a company in Denmark. The main steps are listed below:
- Choose a business form: investors may choose from several different business forms, from partnerships to private limited liability companies; we recommend the Aps – the private limited liability company.
- Prepare the registration documents: not all business forms have incorporation documents, however, the Aps does require the Articles of Association.
- Register the business: every new company is registered with the Danish Business Authority and it receives a Central Company Register Number (CVR).
- Register with the tax authorities: the company must register separately for VAT purposes; one of our Danish company formation agents can assist.
Once these steps are complete, investors can start hiring employees and apply for the needed permits and licenses. Companies in the food and beverages sector can benefit from trademark registration in Denmark
Foreign investments have been growing steadily in Denmark, as highlighted by the following statistics:
- - the foreign direct investments value in 2017 was 735.40 DKK billion;
- - in 2016, the value was 689.5 DKK billion;
- - in 2015, the foreign direct investments value was 632.8 DKK billion.
Entrepreneurs who wish to start a business for selling food and beverages in the country can rely on our assistance for obtaining the right types of permits as well as handling the company incorporation phase.
Starting a food business is subject to more stringent licensing and requirements, compared to other businesses, however, entrepreneurs enjoy the business-friendly regime in Denmark as well as the openness towards receiving foreign investments, which also allows for full-foreign ownership of a food business.