Hennig-Olsen: A Taste of Norway
By Maria Vole | Photos: Hennig-Olsen
For almost a century, Hennig-Olsen Is has provided premium-quality ice cream from its factory in the south of Norway. The family-owned company has passed down its secret ice cream recipes for three generations, proudly delivering ‘the crème de la crème’ to ice cream-loving Norwegians and tourists alike.
Norwegians love ice cream; there’s no doubt about that. Norway is among the top-three countries in the world when it comes to ice cream consumption, with each Norwegian person eating on average 12 litres of ice cream per year. A huge amount of the ice cream enjoyed by Norwegians and visitors to Norway alike comes from one place: the Hennig-Olsen ice cream factory in Kristiansand, Norway.
The oldest ice cream producer in Norway, Hennig-Olsen has a strong history and tradition. The production started in 1924, when Sven Hennig-Olsen, who had learnt the art of ice cream making while living in Chicago, returned to his hometown of Kristiansand. Bringing recipes and equipment with him on his return, he set about to bring great-quality ice cream to Norway. Due to the growing popularity of the ice cream Sven made, the first Hennig-Olsen ice cream factory was opened in 1960. Since then, the company has remained family-owned and is currently in its third generation, with Paal Hennig-Olsen continuing his grandfather’s work as president of the company.
Passion, pride and fun
This begs the question: how has Hennig-Olsen been able to sustain this remarkable success for so many years? “Passion,” Paal says. “The pure passion for ice cream that has been there since the beginning. We have a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity, and we take pride in what we do. This is such a fun industry to be in, and at Hennig-Olsen we have so many talented people working with us.”
Dedicated to creating ‘the cream of ice cream’, Hennig-Olsen believes that excellent taste and quality start with excellent ingredients. It has a long tradition of combining premium-quality ice cream, made using secret recipes passed down for generations within the family, with excellent additions such as its original chocolate, caramel, jam and almond brittle. In addition to these, it also complements its ice cream with natural ingredients like fruit and berries. The most important ingredient is real Norwegian cream, which should be as fresh as possible for the best flavour.
The hugely popular ice cream brand is known for its creativity and innovation, releasing exciting new products every year. In fact, it released the world’s first sugar and calorie free popsicle, Zeroh!, in 2019, to great success. “We’re always working towards developing new products, and to be able to provide healthier products is important to us as we want everyone to be able to enjoy quality ice cream,” Paal says. Though Hennig-Olsen often debuts exciting new ice creams to great acclaim, the old classics remain the most popular. Krone-is and Sandwich have remained on the best-selling list for decades, since they were released over 30 years ago, and are just as popular today as when they were first produced. The new classics could be just around the corner, with exciting prospects for 2020, as Hennig-Olsen is teaming up with Norwegian chocolate giant Freia to collaborate on a new range of ice cream products.
Conscious, responsible, sustainable
Committed to delivering exquisite taste and top quality, Hennig-Olsen is Norway’s largest ice cream supplier, producing over 30 million litres of ice cream every year. But with great success comes great responsibility. With a dedication to running a socially conscious, responsible business, Hennig-Olsen is focused on sustainability and environmentally friendly business practises. “It’s very important to us to be environmentally conscious in all aspects of our work,” Paal says. “We are continually working on maintaining and developing sustainability within the company.”
For decades, the company has taken measures to ensure it disposes of its waste as sustainably as possible, as well as reducing food waste as part of the ice cream production, and discharging waste water from the production process safely into a local fjord. With a long-standing commitment to becoming a climate-neutral business, Hennig-Olsen has reduced its emissions in the factory by 50 per cent over the past ten years. “Utilising locally sourced ingredients will be a big focus for us for the next few years,” Paal says, “and we want to ensure that we continue to deliver excellent-quality Norwegian products in a sustainable way.”
A veritable veteran of the ice cream world, Paal has tasted hundreds, if not thousands of ice creams in his time. But what would this ice cream connoisseur consider his all-time favourite? “Proper-quality, pure ice cream made with Madagascan vanilla,” Paal says. “Sometimes I’ll have it with chocolate sauce or banana on top, but sometimes I’ll enjoy the classic vanilla on its own.” Indeed, you can’t beat a classic.
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