Chinese taste preferences and food habits are different to those of most Arla consumers in Europe and the rest of the world. Arla now seeks to tap into the unique needs and trends in China with a new innovation lab in Beijing, where Danish and Chinese dairy- and innovation specialists will develop cheeses and other dairy products that can win the hearts of Chinese consumers.
In recent years, China has begun to acquire a growing appetite for cheese, and a unique taste for cheese is developing quickly in China.
Arla’s business in China is based on the export of high-quality dairy products from Europe, in-cluding milk powder, UHT-milk, and cheese. A new innovation lab in Beijing is now set to ensure that Arla can launch brand new products over the coming years, which are exclusively developed and produced for Chinese consumers.
“It’s all about developing the next blockbuster product for the Chinese dairy market. Our first focus will be to create the right kind of cheese products that will make more Chinese consumers love cheese in new and different ways. But it must be done in a way that respects and contributes to the food trends developing in China, and therefore we are placing this innovation lab in Beijing,” says Senior Vice President Frede Juulsen, who is responsible for Arla’s business in China.
A royal opening
On Saturday the Prince Consort of Denmark will officially open the new innovation lab, which will reside in the new physical surroundings of the new “China-Denmark Milk Technology Cooperation Centre” in Beijing. Here Arla is working together with China’s leading dairy company – Mengniu Dairy Group – to strengthen the Chinese dairy industry when it comes to milk quality, food safety and quality control on the dairy farms based on the principles in Arla’s European quality programme, Arlagården.
To begin with the innovation lab will employ four people, including cheesemakers and innovation specialists with Danish or Chinese background. They will work together with customers and consumer groups as well as with Arla’s strategic business partner in China, Mengniu.
“These years more and more Chinese consumers are experimenting with food, wine and tastes, and that creates new opportunities for a food company like Arla. We are striving to be as close to the Chinese consumer as possible in order to create taste experiences that suit their diets and taste profiles, thereby bringing health and inspiration to China. We aim to take the lead in the cheese category in China, and building a cheese lab is a key step in creating long-term collaborations with our customers and consumers – a place where we can co-create and innovate in an agile and dynamic manner,” says Frede Juulsen.
Initially Arla will invest approximately 10 million DKK in the establishment and development of the new innovation lab in Beijing. It will be part of Arla’s global strategic innovation efforts, which are coordinated from Aarhus, Denmark where Arla currently is building its new global innovation center inside Agro Food Park.
Arla Foods is a international dairy company owned by 12.600 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. Arla Foods is one of the strongest players in the international dairy arena, with a wide range of of dairy products of higest quality. Well known brands like Lurpak® and Castello® belongs to the Arla family. Arla Foods is also the worlds largest manufacturer of organic products.