DENMARK – Europe’s largest dairy cooperatives, Arla Foods has pioneered an innovative, natural, no preservative transport solution for fresh dairy products to enable the dairy giant expand its global distribution network.

The technology, which Arla developed in close collaboration with supply chain, logistics and local markets, will enable the company to unlock significant growth opportunities by bringing a broader portfolio of short shelf-life products to markets.

The company exports more than 1 billion kilos of products based on milk from the company’s 10,300 farmer owners from across Northern Europe to an extensive international market covering as far afield as Asia, the US and Australia.

However, the company has encountered challenges exporting some of its products, especially the fresh portfolio. This triggered Arla Foods innovation team to investigate alternative transport solutions, leading to the development of the technology.

The company said the solution is a revolutionary supercooling tool that enables fresh products to travel long distances on ships, opening up international export opportunities.

“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,” says Lars Dalsgaard, SVP Product and Innovation.

“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 individual dairy product and understanding the conditions it will encounter during the journey from along the supply chain.

The company hopes that these in depth studies will contribute to identification of the precise factors which 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 – and deliver it fresh and in top quality at its arrival,” explains Lars.

Recently, the first shipment of supercooled Castello® Decorated Cream Cheeses docked in Australia, having been stored in special containers under super cooled conditions.

Arla says that the new process can unlock significant growth opportunities by bringing a broader portfolio of short shelf-life products to markets.

The new tool is currently being tested on a range of different fresh dairy products from milk and yogurt to cheeses.