Through an active marketing approach, Arla Foods is now endeavouring to return to Middle Eastern supermarket shelves. Since late January, Arab consumers have totally boycotted products from Arla in protest against the Mohammed cartoons. Full-page advertisements in 25 Arab newspapers on Sunday will attempt to redress the situation.
The advertisement outlines Arla’s 40 year history in the Middle East and explains its background as a co-operative company owned by Danish and Swedish farmers. It also reiterates Arla’s dissociation from the cartoons, which was explained to Arab business connections and media at last month’s Gulfood exhibition in Dubai.
The advertisement also sets out how, after 40 years in the Middle East, Arla Foods is well aware that justice and tolerance are basic Islamic values. Moreover, the advertisement emphasises that Arla’s business in the Middle East has been affected not by its own actions, but because of the actions of others. Consumers, therefore, are asked to reconsider their attitude to Arla.
“We hope that the advertisement will get Arab consumers to consider whether it is fair to boycott a dairy company that has had nothing to do with these caricatures,” says Executive Director Finn Hansen, Arla Foods.
Arla’s estimates that, this year, the company – and consequently its milk producers - will lose DKK 400 million as a result of the boycott in the Middle East. The estimate assumes, however, that sales of cheese and butter will resume over the next fortnight and that Arla will sell half the volumes sold prior to the boycott before the end of the year.
Attached below statement in ad translated into english: