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Arla Foods
Type Agricultural cooperative
Founded 2000
Headquarters Flag of Denmark.svg Århus, Denmark
Key people Peder Tuborgh(CEO) (DK)

Povl Krogsgaard(Vice CEO) (DK)

Andreas Lundby(Vice CEO) (DK)

Ove Møberg(Chairman) (DK)

Ola Arvidsson(Executive Director) (SE)
Area served Worldwide
Active members 7 996 (2008)
Denmark: 3 906
Sweden: 4 090
Industry Dairy
Revenue 49.469 Billion DKK (2008)
Operating income 1.149 Billion DKK (2008)
Net income 556 Million DKK (2008)
Employees 15 927 (2007)

Arla Foods is a Swedish-Danish cooperative based in Århus, Denmark, and the largest producer of dairy products in Scandinavia. Arla was formed as the result of a merger between the Swedish dairy cooperative Arla and the Danish dairy company MD Foods on 17 April 2000.[1][2] Arla Foods is owned by approximately 7,996 milk producers in Denmark and Sweden. The name Arla derives from the same word as the English word "early" and is an archaic Swedish term for "early (in the morning).



Arla was the name of a local Swedish dairy industry in the end of the 19th century which was one of the founders of modern Arla Foods. The purchase of Wisconsin-based White Clover Dairy, a company with 170 employees, on January 26, 2006, provided direct access to the U.S. market (White Clover had produced Arla products under license since 1998).[3]


Denmark, Sweden, and the UK are considered home markets as the Group has production in all three countries. Turnover in these three markets accounts for approximately 73% of Arla Foods’ turnover. Arla owns 100% of the UK company Arla Foods UK. In addition to Denmark, Sweden and the UK, Arla Foods operates subsidiaries in 19 export markets.

The two companies behind Arla Foods, the Danish MD Foods and the Swedish Arla, are both rooted in the co-operative movement. The Danish MD Foods and the Swedish Arla merged in 1999. Both dairies share similar histories. See Arla Foods history film [1]

Middle East boycott over Muhammad cartoons

Arla's sales were seriously affected by a boycott of Danish products in the Middle East in 2006. Transnational anger among Muslims over satirical cartoons of Muhammed was the immediate cause of this. After the Danish government refused to condemn the cartoons or meet with eleven concerned ambassadors from Muslim nations, a boycott was organized, starting in Saudi Arabia and spreading across the Middle East. The Middle East is Arla's largest market outside of Europe.

On 2006-02-03, the company said that sales in the Middle East had stopped completely, costing the company US$2 million a day[4]. Soon after the boycott began to affect Arla's sales, the Danish government met with Muslim ambassadors, the newspaper issued apologetic statements. Unfortunately for Arla, the boycott continued undiminished for some time.

In March 2006, Arla took out full-page advertising in Saudi Arabia, apologizing for the cartoons and indicating Arla's great respect for Islam in the country. This raised controversy back in Denmark, where women's organizations and some Danish politicians criticized Arla, and called on Danish women to boycott Arla's products in Denmark.

In April 2006, the company said that its products are being placed back in stores in the Middle East. Before the boycott, it supplied 50,000 stores in the area. It announced that many of its largest clients in Saudi Arabia would start selling its butter and cheese on April 8. Arla has started sponsoring humanitarian causes in the Middle East in order to reduce bad feelings from consumers.[5]

2008 Chinese milk scandal

Arla Foods has a joint venture company Arla Mengniu, in association with Mengniu[6][7] , one of the companies involved in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal involving the addition of melamine to milk products.

Executive director Jais Valeur stated that: "We are part of this [crisis] – just as we’re a part of the solution."[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Arla genom åren" (in Swedish). Arla Foods. Retrieved 2007-07-19.  
  2. ^ "Historien bakom namnet Arla Foods" (in Swedish). Arla Foods. Retrieved 2007-07-19.  
  3. ^ "Arla Foods acquires US dairy company", Nordic Business Report,January 26, 2006
  4. ^ "Arla cheesed off over Middle East boycott". The Daily Telegraph. 2006-02-04.  
  5. ^ "Arla returns to the Middle East". BBC. 2006-04-07.  
  6. ^ "Mengniu shareholders cash in $165 million By Anette Jönsson". Retrieved 2008-09-25.  
  7. ^ "Big sky country offers niche opportunities - SPECIAL REPORT". Retrieved 2008-09-26.  
  8. ^ "Mengniu Food Awaits Testing Equipment 09/22/2008". Retrieved 2008-09-25.  

External links



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