The Islamic festival of Ramadan, when strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset, is paradoxically a peak sales season for Arla Foods’ Saudi Arabian subsidiary. After sunset, family and friends enjoy eating together and Arla Foods’ dairy products feature regularly on Saudi tables.
“Ramadan can be compared with Christmas,” explains the Director of Arla Foods’ Saudi Arabian subsidiary Peter Guldager. “Just as Danes enjoy mulled wine and apple cakes, Moslems enjoy our shredded mozzarella and 70 per cent of our annual sales occur during Ramadan. Saudi consumers also buy large quantities of long-life cream and milk powder.”
At Arla Foods’ dairy in the capital Riyadh the machinery which shreds the blocks of mozzarella from Rødkærsbro Dairy has been operating continuously for the past three months in order to meet the huge demand.
While working hours at the dairy remain unchanged during Ramadan, the sales force’s working days are turned upside down. Also, as shops are only open at night, deliveries have to be planned accordingly.
With an annual turnover of almost DKK 1 billion, Saudi Arabia is Arla Foods’ largest non-European market.