|Type||Wholly owned subsidiary|
|Headquarters||Leeds, United Kingdom|
|Area served||United Kingdom|
|Products||Dairy products – Lurpak, Cravendale, Lactofree|
The company was created by the 2003 merger of the British dairy group Express Dairies and the British subsidiary of Arla Foods, a Swedish-Danish dairy production co-operative, jointly owned by Swedish and Danish farmers. The parent company Arla Foods amba initially held a 51% stake, but acquired the rest of the company's shares in April 2007. In Britain, Arla supplies milk to retailers and produces many household brands such as Lurpak, Anchor Butter, Cravendale, Lactofree and Castello.
The company name Arla is an archaic Swedish term for saying "early (in the morning)". Arla was originally chosen as the name of the Swedish company as Stora arla gård, "Great Arla Farm" in County Västmanland, Sweden, was one of the early founding members of today's cooperative.
Arla Foods was formed as the result of the merger of Swedish dairy cooperative Arla and the Danish dairy company MD Foods in 2000. Swedish Arla derived from an early dairy producing cooperative, originally called Mjölkcentralen, MC, founded in 1926 in Stockholm. Danish MD Foods was the result of the 1999 merger of Kløver Mælk and MD Foods. MD originally stood for Mejeriselskabet Danmark. In 2000 Arla and MD Foods merged and the new company was headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark.
Arla Foods is today owned by approximately 10,600 milk producers in Denmark and Sweden.
Arla is the UK's largest supplier of fresh milk and cream, producing over 2.2 billion litres of milk every year. It produces two premium milk brands — Cravendale filtered milk, which undergoes a filtration process to remove bacteria before pasteurization; and Lactofree milk, from which lactose is removed, making it suitable for most lactose intolerant people. Following the success of Lactofree milk, Arla introduced a range of Lactose free products, including cheese and yoghurt.
As well as fresh milk, Arla produces Lurpak brand butter, and resells Anchor branded butter on behalf of New Zealand Milk. Other products include fromage frais, yoghurts and the blue cheeses Rosenborg and Danish Blue. The firm also produces fruit juice.
The company has processing plants in England at Ashby de la Zouch (Leicestershire), Hatfield Peverel (Essex), Palmers Green (London), Stourton (Leeds), Settle and Northallerton (North Yorkshire), and in Scotland at Nairn and Lockerbie.
In January 2009 Arla Foods UK ceased production at the Manchester dairy.
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