January 14, 2019

Arla further strengthens innovation agenda


Arla Foods is taking a new approach to innovation and new product development, including creating a new product and innovation organisation and appointing a new senior vice president, the dairy co-operative said.


Driving the development of the new organisation is an opportunity Arla has identified to strengthen its innovation and global product agenda and thereby enhance its strong competitive advantage within key categories.

Hanne Søndergaard, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, explained that bringing together Arla's current product management and research and development functions, which includes new product development, will better leverage Arla's technologies and competences and develop its competitive strengths. Going forward, the new organisation will be responsible for all product-related activities, which encompasses research and technology development, product development and management of all product and packaging changes.

"The new set up will enable closer collaboration with our commercial zones, markets and supply chain, ensuring that we are driving our global innovation and product agendas from the strongest possible position to maximise the value of our products," said Søndergaard.

"With the aim for half of our growth to come from innovation, it's a key element of our strategy and an essential element in our mission to create the highest possible value for the milk supplied by our cooperative owners," she added.

Heading up the new organisation from April 1 2019 is Lars Dalsgaard, who is appointed as senior vice president of  product and innovation. With 35 years of experience in Arla including six years in the UK, Dalsgaard has been instrumental in developing Arla's footprint both in cheese, ingredients and the UK market. He is currently head of global supply chain for the manufacturing of cheese, butter and powder.

"Lars has the perfect combination of skills, expertise and experience within the business and is passionate about taking both our innovation and product agendas to the next level," Dalsgaard said.

Complementing the creation of the new organisation is the implementation of a new innovation model, which Søndergaard said will double impact in half the time.

"We will be more experimental, faster to market and roll out successes with speed. We're also placing innovation leadership in market and global/zone brand teams who are closest to our consumers and customers."

Søndergaard added: "As one of the world's leading dairy companies, we must be in a position to drive and lead dairy innovation on a global scale in order to increase the value of our products and create new business for Arla worldwide."

Arla's announcement is one in a series of strategic moves by the co-op to drive and lead dairy innovation on a global scale.

In May 2017, it opened its DKK270 million (US$41.5 million) state-of-the-art global centre for innovation in Denmark. It is home to some of the world's most advanced technology within food development and the epicentre of innovation at Arla.

More recently, in August 2018, Arla announced a EUR36.3 million (US$41.7 million) investment to create a second innovation centre in the country dedicated to research and development innovation for whey and milk-based ingredients.

- Arla