While Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik this week introduced his future wife, Mary Donaldson, to the Danish public, his younger brother, Prince Joachim, is heading an export promotion drive in the Middle East.
The tour includes the United Arab Emirates where Arla Foods is currently seeing considerable growth.
Prince Joachim will meet a country whose retail sector is currently undergoing a rapid process of change and which, to a significant extent, is setting the agenda for retail developments elsewhere in the Emirates. The 120 strong Arla workforce in the Emirates have proved skilful in exploiting this.
Since Arla Foods began to expand its operations in the UAE two years ago, Arla Foods has gained market share and increased turnover by no less than 45% in the new subsidiary’s first year and 35% in the second year. Today, the UAE’s turnover accounts for DKK 200 million out of a total turnover of DKK 2.5 billion in the Middle East.
Closer to customers
“The result is due to the fact that we’re now closer to customers,” explains Executive Director Jacob Steen Mikkelsen, one of the five Danes working out of the office in Dubai.
“If you sit in Denmark, it’s hard to follow the consumers’ and the food stores’ requirements and market developments and it’s not easy either to do business through the local importer. Now we’re established here, we can trade directly with the customers who sell our products and we can make decisions on the spot. Consequently, we have gained more shelf space, initiated more activities and established closer contact with customers and consumers.”
The arrival of Carrefour
The local retail sector reached a watershed when the French multiple Carrefour arrived in the UAE in the late 90s. Today, Carrefour operates 8 hypermarkets in the Emirates with a further four planned for the next two years.
This has increased Arla Foods’ opportunities for selling its range which includes Puck cream cheese in glass containers, Puck sterilised cream, feta bricks, shredded mozzarella, Lurpak and Lurpak Soft.
A second factor behind the increased turnover is the improved distribution to small stores which has contributed to Lurpak increasing its market share from 54% to 64% in two years despite a general decline in butter sales.
Prince accompanied by minister
Prince Joachim, who is accompanied by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Mariann Fischer Boel and a Danish business delegation, will visit Arla Foods’ subsidiary in Saudi Arabia, Danya Foods.
The trip has been arranged by the Danish Agricultural Council together with Denmark’s Export Council and Danish Industry.
Arla Foods is represented by Group Director Andreas Lundby, Divisional Director Finn S. Hansen and Regional Director Jan E. Pedersen.
Read more about Arla Foods' activities in Unites Arab Emirates.