Arla Foods' Finnish business has brought an end to its retail sale of Swedish milk and changed its name in an attempt to dispel consumer confusion surrounding the company.
The company announced last month that as of May 1 it would stop selling imported Swedish milk, which has until now accounted for around 20% of the milk it markets in Finland, at retail level.
Only milk produced by dairy farms in Finland will now be sold by Arla in the country.
It will, however, continue to sell 10bn litres of imported milk per year to food service customers with whom it has “long contracts...based on Swedish milk.”
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Reiko Kiskola, CEO of Arla Foods' Finnish business, said that by adding more dairy farmers to its milk supply it has been able to meet increasing Finnish demand for Finnish milk.
“Most of all, Finnish consumers want to buy only Finnish origin milk and the trend is getting stronger all the time,” said Kiskola.
“We are also in a situation where we have enough Finnish milk.”
“We have got over 30 new milk farmers this year, which has made it possible for us to offer fresh milk produced in Finland to our retailers," he said.
In an additional move away from its reputation in Finland as a dairy importer, the company has changed its name.
Arla Ingman was created in 2007, when Swedish-Danish dairy cooperative Arla Foods acquired a 30% stake in Finnish food firm, Ingman Foods.
The following year, Arla Foods acquired the rest of the company. The Arla and Ingman logos have featured on many of the company's products since.
But beginning this month, Arla Ingman will be known simply as Arla.
Commenting on the name change, Kiskola said that on the back of surveys and discussion with Finnish consumers, it became clear that the "brand Arla Ingman has been somewhat unclear to consumers."
“Second, we want to build a strong Arla brand in Finland," he said.
"We have already been using only Arla for several products, so it is only natural to take the Arla brand and use it in all our products.”
"...even though we are a local dairy company we are part of Arla Foods and we want to highlight the benefits that Arla brings us," Kiskola added.
Last year, it was reported that Arla Ingman had seriously considered pulling out of the Finnish fresh milk market over the “unfair and illegal” pricing policy employed by its main rival, Valio.
Kiskola claimed at the time that Valio’s pricing practices had been designed to “drive other players from the market, to create a monopoly, and then to price milk to the consumer’s detriment.”
More than a year on, Arla is much better equipped to compete with Valio, said Kiskola.
“The fresh milk market is still very important for us."
"We want to be an alternative for consumers and customers," Kiskola added. "No one benefits if there is only one player in the dairy field in Finland."