Every year, Arla exports more than 1bn kilos of products based on milk from the company’s 10,300 farmer owners from across Northern Europe to international markets in Asia, the US and Australia. While some fresh dairy products are frozen and flown, this method doesn’t suit the majority of Arla’s fresh portfolio, triggering its innovation team to investigate alternative solutions.
Arla said it has developed a supercooling tool that enables fresh products to travel long distances on ships, opening up international export opportunities.
Lars Dalsgaard, SVP product and innovation, said, “An easy and well known way to distribute foods to distant markets is freezing and flying but this destroys the quality of some of our products. We’re seeing more and more markets requesting chilled, fresh tasting and natural products rather than frozen products that require defrosting or products with preservatives. Our new, innovative cooling tool overcomes this challenge, creating possibilities to expand our product portfolio globally.”
Arla is investigating the properties of each dairy product and understanding conditions during the journey from a European cow to, for example, an Asian consumer. These studies are enabling the company to identify which factors affect product quality during transportation.
“We have found that the relationship between time and advanced cooling is one of the keys to unlocking portfolio limitations in markets outside of Europe. Controlling these variables enables us to put the product into hibernation mode, or ‘to sleep’, a bit like Sleeping Beauty - and deliver it fresh and in top quality at its arrival,” Dalsgaard said.
New launch in Australia
Expanding the range of Castello cheeses in Australia to fulfill the needs and demands of Australian consumers has long been on the company’s wish list. Given the country’s geographical location and distance from Denmark, where a large proportion of the Castello range is produced, it’s proved a challenge to bring some of brand’s short shelf-life products to market because they can’t be frozen.
Recently, the first shipment of supercooled Castello Decorated Cream Cheeses docked in Australia, having been stored in special containers under super cooled conditions.
The new tool is currently being tested on a range of different fresh dairy products from milk and yogurt to cheeses.