Press release

Leading the whey with new innovation centre

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Farmer-owned Arla Foods is to build a groundbreaking innovation centre in Nr. Vium, Denmark to unleash the wonders of whey. Part of Arla Foods Ingredients, the new centre will be home to leading scientists and innovators who will discover and deliver new ways of using milk and whey to serve the needs of the world’s growing population.

Arla’s belief in innovation being the key to unlocking the future of dairy was demonstrated when it opened Arla Innovation Centre (AIC) in Skejby, Denmark last year. With the EUR 36.3 million investment, Arla is now creating a hub for research and development innovation within whey and milk based ingredients.

Peder Tuborgh, CEO of Arla Foods, says:

“The world’s population is growing, which increases the need for healthy and sustainable food. It is a big challenge, and in Arla we want to be part of the solution. We know that dairy nutrition can play an important role in securing a healthy and balanced diet for people across the world, and with this innovation centre we will use cutting edge research and technology to explore milk and whey to their full potential as ingredients for a wide range of nutrition.”

The investment in the innovation centre, which is expected to open in 2021, was recently approved by Arla Foods’ Board of Directors, supporting the company’s strategic focus on innovation. The centre will be part of Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI), the Arla subsidiary that has transformed whey from what was once considered a waste product to premium, high quality ingredients used for infant nutrition, clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, health foods and other foods and beverage products.

Henrik Andersen, Group Vice President in Arla Foods Ingredients, says:

“Our customers are always looking for new solutions to adapt to changing consumer demands. Our focus is to explore all the components in the milk and whey and combine them to enhance the nutritional or functional value of a product. Together with our customers, we will explore this even further in our new innovation centre to help them develop new products that meet the specific nutritional needs of children, athletes, patients and consumers.”

The new centre will be located in Nr. Vium, Denmark in close proximity to Arla Foods Ingredients’ largest production site, Danmark Protein, creating a unique environment for process development and pilot production. At the centre, scientists, technicians and innovators will cover all aspects of research and development within whey and milk – from advanced separation technologies to isolate specific components of the whey or milk, to heat treatment and pasteurization technology to improve functionality and shelf-life.

At the moment, approx. 70 scientists, technicians and engineers are working with innovation in AFI, but according to Henrik Andersen, the new innovation centre will provide even more opportunities:

“The colleagues working with innovation in AFI are among the most talented in the world and it is our ambition to continue to attract the very best calibre of colleagues that share our mission of discovering and delivering all the wonders whey can bring to people’s lives. This will be an exciting place to work with the most challenging development projects in the dairy industry,” Henrik Andersen says.

Facts about the new innovation centre

  • Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2019, and the centre is expected to open in 2021
  • It will be a 9,000 square metre state-of-the-art facility with open office spaces, labs and a pilot plant.
  • The centre will employ up to 90 people.

Arla Foods is a global dairy company and co-operative owned by 11,200 dairy farmers with circa 2,400 of whom are British.

Dating back to 1881, Arla’s purpose is to secure the highest value for its farmers’ milk, while creating opportunities for their growth. With production facilities in 11 countries and sales offices in a further 30, Arla is the world’s fifth largest dairy company and largest supplier of organic dairy products. Arla has a total of more than 18,000 colleagues and its products are sold under the well-known brands Arla®, Lurpak® and Castello® in more than 100 countries.

Arla Foods UK is the largest dairy company in the country and is home to leading dairy brands Anchor®, Arla Cravendale®, and Arla Lactofree® with a turnover of €2.21 billion. The UK is largest market within the Europe Zone, contributing 35% of the zone’s turnover and also comprises 25% of the Group revenue.

As well as being a leading supplier of fresh milk, number one in butter, spreads and cream, Arla is the UK’s largest cheese manufacturer. It has also built the world’s largest fresh milk facility located at Aylesbury that later this year will become the first net zero carbon site of its kind. The UK business has a team of approximately 3,500 colleagues located at its dairies, creameries, distribution centres and head office.

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