Arla Foods amba has almost doubled the number of British farmer owners as a further 1,300 take up the offer of becoming co-owners of Europe’s largest dairy cooperative and looks to secure a further 300 million litres of owner milk.
The circa 2,800 British farmer owners supply ninety five per cent of Arla UK’s milk pool and are part of the European network of 13,500 farmer owners across Denmark, Germany, the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden.
Jonathan Ovens, AMCo chairman and British farmer director of Arla Foods amba, said: “We have been working towards becoming co-owners of Arla Foods amba for the past 10 years and we have now realised our vision. Arla is committed to delivering a sustainable future for its farmers and by taking the ownership route, we are receiving the leading UK milk price.
Johnnie Russell, AML chairman and British farmer director of Arla Foods amba, said “The price a farmer receives for his milk today is crucial, however, with quota abolition next year, which is likely to result in a huge upsurge in European milk production, it is essential that a farmer is able to benefit from the returns from world markets. I believe that Arla is the only UK business that has a strategy in place whereby we can access world markets to tap into a broader marketplace for our products, which in turn deliver a higher return. The inclusion of Westbury skimmed milk powder on the GDT auction is just one example of this,” added Johnnie.
Ash Amirahmadi, head of milk and member services, at Arla Foods, said: “One of the key strategic objectives of roadmap was to secure our milk supply and we have achieved this objective.
“Not only have we seen 85 per cent of AFMP members sign up to become owners of the European dairy cooperative, we have also recruited a further 230 million litres of new milk into the cooperative as a result of the initiative. This is a hugely positive step and reflects the strength of the Arla Foods amba offering,” he added.
Arla is looking to further expand its UK milk pool and, as a result, the Arla Foods amba farmer board has agreed to re-open recruitment to secure a further 300 million litres of milk in 2014, in addition to the three billion litres already supplied by UK farmer owners.
Mansel Raymond, chairman of the National Farmers Union’s dairy board, added: “For years UK farmers have looked on enviously at the apparent disparity between this country and mainland European milk prices. Its good news that Arla has reopened its recruitment window so that British dairy farmers who wish to join Europe’s largest dairy co-operative will have the opportunity to be part of this successful business.”
Arla Foods is home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands including Cravendale, Lurpak, Castello, Lactofree and Anchor. The cooperative processes 3.2 billion litres of milk a year and has a turnover of approximatey £2bn.
Arla is the UK's number one dairy company, by turnover and milk pool, and is the largest supplier of both butter and spreads, and manufacturer of cheese in the country.
Over 4,000 daily deliveries are made to stores and regional distribution centres nationwide, Arla's brands can be found across the dairy category and the company has a 26 per cent share of the GB milk pool. Behind this leading business is a team of circa 4,000 people across the UK located at our dairies, distribution centres and head office.