UK – Arla Foods, one of the largest dairy cooperative in Europe, is moving its lactofree milk production from Denmark and Sweden to North Yorkshire as demand for free from dairy products continued to rise in the UK. 

According to a report by Food Manufacture, the shift of production to UK is part of a new £25m (US$34.53m) investment that was announced by the Danish-based dairy cooperative in January last year.   

A significant proportion of the investment would be ploughed into new production equipment, filling lines, packaging facilities, and a new energy centre, which would improve the overall efficiency of the site, the company said. 

 Arla confirmed in July this year that the transition will create new jobs in frontline roles, with half of them already being filled by people from the local area and a further 25 to be recruited over the next two to three years.  

The move means that Arla’s Yorkshire site, which previously mainly produced UHT milk, will now have capacity to produce the company’s full range of lactose-free milk products. 

The dairy cooperative said it had shifted its Lactofree operations to North Yorkshire as demand for free from dairy products continued to rise in the UK.  

According to figures from retail analyst Kantar, the free from dairy category which was worth just £392.6m (US$542.32m) in 2017, had almost doubled in value to £756.1m (US$1.04bn) as of April 2021 and was set to double again by 2026. 

 “We are particularly pleased to start the production of our Lactofree ranges in Settle, where we’ve had a presence for more than 40 years,” Arla UK’s managing director Ash Amirahmadi said. 

Arla picks new SIG robotic sleeve magazine 

Earlier, Arla Foods acquired R-CAM 2, a new, fully automated sleeve magazine designed to automatically remove shipping boxes from the pallet, open them, and then load the filling machine with carton sleeves.  

Other R-CAM 2 features include being able to run continuously for up to 2.5 hours without the need to change a pallet, and the ability to compress and pack empty shipping boxes.   

The new machine manufactured by SIG Combibloc consisting of two parts: a pallet magazine and an unpacking station, with the former offering space for two Euro pallets or industrial pallets.

SIG said the machine which was recently launched enables food and beverage manufacturers to increase workflow efficiency while reducing the amount of manual labor they require.  

This means manufacturers can develop fully automated filling plants and keep up with growing consumer demands and advances within connectivity and digitalization. 

Meanwhile, a consortium of eight organisations, including Arla Foods UK, has been awarded funding as a part of the government’s Direct Air Capture and Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies competition. 

The project will test the feasibility of using biochar- a highly stable form of carbon produced by heating biomass in a low-oxygen environment through pyrolysis- commercially in agriculture.

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