Arla Foods, the UK’s largest dairy company, this week set a new target to achieve more than 50% growth across its UK organic retail and foodservice business over the next five years. This will see the size of Arla’s annual organic dairy business in the UK grow from 180 to 270 million litres.
The ambitious new target comes as farmer-owned Alara launches new ‘Organic 2.0’ standards aimed at boosting sales of organic dairy products in the UK. Under the scheme, Arla’s organic farmers will also convert to 100% renewable energy to meet the new standards and commit to more ambitious targets for reducing CO2 emissions.
Arla says it wants to “add even more value to the organic dairy products and to give consumers a relevant and forward thinking offering in an increasingly competitive category”. To do so, it will take a “clear stance” in four key areas: climate impact, soil health, biodiversity and animal welfare, which, it says, resonate strongly for ethical consumers .
Helping UK organics make up ground
Arla notes that the UK has fallen behind other European countries when it comes to the consumption of organic produce. It compares Denmark, with 12% of the national diet is made up of organic produce, to the UK’s 1.2% (2021 Soil Association data suggests this is now 1.6%). It cites the example of France too, where organic share is over 6%, and the USA, where 5.8% is organic.
Arla believes dairy is a category that can help UK organics make up ground. It says that the organic dairy category in the UK grew by 4% last year, and says its own business had seen double-digit growth in its UK organic dairy business year-on-year for the last five years.
Arla Foods’ UK managing director, Ash Amirahmadi, said: “We believe there is a big potential for organic dairy here in the UK as more and more British consumers are turning to organic food. Just like in other parts of Europe, we believe the trend of organic dairy will continue to grow in the UK, and with our new and improved organic standards we want to make it even more attractive for British consumers to choose organic when they are shopping in the dairy aisle.
Forging new paths
“Across the board, Arla farmers have significantly increased work on farms around biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions and improving animal welfare. Historically, Organic farmers have often been the ones to establish new practices in these areas, and with these revised standards, they are once again forging new paths.”