DAIRY company Arla UK has seen its annual revenues smash the £2bn barrier as it helps Yorkshire farmers break into global markets.
Arla, which employs 1,000 people at sites across Yorkshire, plans to increase its sales in markets such as Africa and China where demand is growing.
Arla yesterday revealed that its UK revenue rose by 22 per cent to £2.2bn last year, after its performance was boosted by the recent merger with Milk Link.
Arla, which has 160 farmers in Yorkshire supplying it with milk, hopes to add another 50 or 60 farmers in the county to its supply chain this year.
Arla’s farmers in the UK have access to markets in more than 100 countries. Dairy industry figures believe that a forecasted surge in global demand for milk, as a result of emerging markets, can give the UK dairy industry a lift after years of decline.
Ash Amirahmadi, the Leeds-based vice president for milk and member services at Arla UK, said: “The farmers in Yorkshire who supply Arla with milk are, on average, between £15,000 and £20,000 a year better off than their neighbours who don’t supply milk to Arla.”
Mr Amirahmadi added: “Arla is on a growth curve. It is seen as an aspirational place to go and work.”
Arla UK, which is a subsidiary of a Danish co-operative, has also signed an exclusive partnership with Starbucks to supply 30 million litres of Cravendale milk to all its 700 stores in the UK and Northern Ireland each year.
An Arla spokesman said: “2013 marked another year of unprecedented activity for the UK business. Now the largest dairy company in the country with leading positions in milk, cheese, butter and spreads, the focus has been on maximising and extending these leads.”
In 2013, Arla UK negotiated the biggest cheese contract in its history. From April, the business will supply 30,000 tonnes of cheddar to Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda, increasing cheese production by 50 per cent.
Peter Lauritzen. the chief executive of Arla Foods UK, said yesterday: “The UK business is performing well. Arla UK has a compelling dairy offer and we are very much focused on growing our business.”