Tourism, Place Branding and the Local-turn in Food: The New Nordic Cuisine

Can-Seng Ooi, Jesper Strandgaard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper looks at the branding of Copenhagen as food destination through the advent of the New Nordic Cuisine. The New Nordic Cuisine (NNC) offers two destination branding ‘puzzles’. The first puzzle is that a destination brand should accentuate the authenticity and uniqueness of the locality. This allows relevant stakeholders—e.g. attraction managers, tourism promotion authorities, restaurants and tour operators—to frame their tourism services and products, and make their offerings stand-out against those in competing destinations. Branding a destination as part of a ‘bloc’, in this case ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, is counter intuitive especially when members of the region compete with each other for tourists. Furthermore the NNC is a recent invention. The second puzzle is the ‘local-turn’; using local and seasonal produce is the main focus in the NNC. This concept is neither new nor original and can be easily adapted for other places. How does this idea work for destination branding? This paper addresses these two puzzles. Firstly, the case of NNC shows how a vague and ambiguous term like ‘Nordic’ can be a focal-point for local and international audiences. The term remains vague and ambiguous, and means different things to different people. New meanings are inserted into the unclear term, for instance the NNC go-local values are packaged, marketed and celebrated as part of a Nordic-identity. The tourism authorities did not attempt to refine the term but instead perpetuate the broad understanding of the NNC. It is not about communicating an authentic message but a message that resonates with different audiences. Secondly, the brand message issue is not what is authentically or uniquely Danish but what others imagine an authentic and unique Denmark to be. Even though the NNC is a newly invented tradition, visitors can ‘reaffirm’ the imagined authenticity and uniqueness of the destination. They may feel that they have experienced the ‘real’ Copenhagen as a result.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKulinarischer Tourismus und Weintourismus : Culinary and Wine Tourism Conference 2015
EditorsDaniela Wagner, Michael Mair, Albert Franz Stöckl, Axel Dreyer
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9783658137311
ISBN (Electronic)9783658137328
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventCulinary and Wine Tourism Conference 2015 - FHWien der WKW, Wien, Austria
Duration: 21 Oct 201523 Oct 2015
Conference number: 1


ConferenceCulinary and Wine Tourism Conference 2015
LocationFHWien der WKW
Internet address
SeriesForschung und Praxis an der FHWien der WKW


  • New Nordic cuisine
  • Food destination
  • Destination branding
  • Authenticity
  • Local-turn

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