Fair Trees has – as part of our constant work with contributing to a sustainable and climate-friendly
development – embarked on food production based on Christmas trees. The Christmas tree has a useful life
and function that far expand being the focal point around Christmas. We are working on creating foods in
which we take advantage of the nutrient-rich dietary fibres in the Christmas tree.
Together with Mimmi Nielsen, this year’s winner of the Junior Scientist award for her innovative idea about
development of foods based on dietary fibres contained in Nordmann Fir, and Rikke Frederiksen, Service Designer,
Fair Trees is now busy developing a technical and logistic model for the upcycling of Nordmann fir trees for
Fair Trees – incubator for a greener Christmas
”First the tree is displayed and then it is eaten” are the words of an old traditional Danish Christmas carol.
And that is exactly what it can be: eaten! Every year, approximately 45 million Nordmann fir trees are sold
across the EU. Mimmi Nielsen, Rikke Frederiksen and Fair Trees have started a development project, in
which the Christmas trees are collected to be used for food production in the form of Nordmann Fir fibres, which
can be used in for example bread and crispbread.
”Nordmann Fir crispbread – an innovative project in the Christmas tree business”
The young scientist has baked Nordmann Fir crispbread from the trunks of Fair Trees Christmas trees.
“As Nordmann Fir fibres aren’t soluble in water, I have added flaxseed, which contains mucilage that absorbs
water, to the crispbread. Thus, the crispbread contains most types of dietary fibres,” tells Mimi Nielsen, this
year’s winner of the Junior Science Expo Award.
Fair Trees – a good feeling in the gut
Furthermore, analyses have demonstrated that Nordmann Fir fibres increase the amount of the so-called SCFA-
producing gut bacteria, which are believed to be able to mitigate for example obesity and colon cancer.
Naturally, the Nordmann Fir fibres are free from any harmful substances.
“Using the Christmas tree for dietary fibres adds an innovative and sustainable future perspective for the
producers of Christmas trees. At Fair Trees, we have a strong focus on circular production throughout our
value chain – from the seed, which is carefully picked by hand in natural forest, which is more than 100
years old, in the Caucasus and to the Christmas tree in people’s living rooms. When the Nordmann Fir fibres from
the millions of Christmas trees sold each year can be included as an important resource of food (after
having been used over Christmas), we have come far on the path of an even greener Christmas.
Therefore we are very excited about our collaboration with Mimi. And who knows? Maybe the Christmas
tree ends up being merely a biproduct of the original production of Christmas trees,” says Marianne Bols of
Nordmann Fir fibres: local production ensures additional environmental gain
Nordmann Fir fibres are also a sustainable alternative to the existing dietary fibres in the market. This is due to the
fact that the Christmas trees are grown in Denmark, as opposed to common dietary fibres such as grain
that is imported from South America and Southern Europe.
Thus, an additional environmental gain is secured, as the dietary fibres produced from Christmas trees
grown locally are an unprecedented resource of food.
Consequently, if we use the trunks of the just over 1.5 million Christmas trees produced each year in
Denmark as dietary fibres, 1650 tonnes of CO2 can in theory have the potential of becoming CO2 negative.
Nordmann Fir fibres – the CO2 bottom line
1 Christmas tree (height 1.5 m) contains 3.67 kg of C02. 1.5 million = 5500 tonnes of CO2. The trees contain
approximately 30% hemicellulose.
If we assume that we eat all the tree trunks and our body can utilise 100% of the hemicellulose, this will
correspond to approximately 30% of the 5500 tonnes of CO2 in the 1.5 million Christmas trees having the
potential of becoming CO2 negative, as our bodies will utilise the carbon in the hemicellulose to create
short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which consist of up to 6 carbon atoms.
30% of 5500 tonnes of CO2 thus correspond to 1650 tonnes of CO2 having the potential of becoming CO2
Nordmann Fir fibres – from tree to fibre
The process from Christmas tree to Nordmann Fir crispbread begin by scraping and cleaning the surface of the
bark. Then, the trunk is sawed into sawdust, which is boiled in a high-pressure cooker for 2 hours and
subsequently air-dried. Finally, the sawdust is granulated in a blender into very fine Nordmann Fir fibres that can
be used in bread and crispbread.