Although it launches concepts worldwide, ideas need to be adapted to each market, explains the company.
Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI), based in Aarhus, Denmark, is a global supplier of natural milk-based ingredients for products in a range of categories including dairy and ice cream, beverages and bakery, and clinical, infant and sports nutrition.
Among AFI’s portfolio are functional and nutritional whey proteins, milk minerals, lactose and permeate.
The AFI research and innovation department employs technicians, engineers and biochemists, who work closely with leading universities, technical institutes and other food industry partners.
Adding value to dairy
Torben Jensen, category manager, fresh dairy products at AFI, spoke to DairyReporter about the company, and how it helps add value to dairy products around the world.
“We have sales people who offer concepts, ideas and recipes to our customers, and if something is of interest for them, they discuss internally with their marketing, production and management what they would like to launch,” Jensen said.
“And if they agree to launch one of our ideas, then they come back to us and say we would like to produce this product – how can you help us to get the right product.”
“We supply an idea and a basic recipe, our customers are the dairy producers, they want to put their own fingerprint on their own new product development, so there is always a small adjustment with the customer.”
Jensen said that AFI is able to help companies increase efficiency. AFI states that its small-scale production set-up makes it possible to test new ingredients thoroughly, thereby lowering costs and shortening the time it takes for products to get to market.
“We can increase the speed of launching new products; we are able to assimilate the process in their factories, and we can adjust texture, taste, cost and other factors,” he said.
“We can also help them to be more efficient. To utilize waste products could also be a possibility, and also maximize their production line to be more efficient and produce even better products by adjustments in the process. We have very highly skilled technicians who know how a dairy is run, so these experts are sent to their plants to give advice,” Jensen added.
New product launches
In terms of new products, Jensen said that AFI generally would have around five or six launches per year, but these launches could contain three or four different products.
“For instance, in a few weeks, we are going to launch a new campaign called Maximum Yield, and in this concept we have different yogurts, different cream cheeses. It's normally a concept with a head line, then different subcategories below.”
AFI has a range of customers in the dairy industry worldwide, from small local producers, right through to large international customers.
AFI has two application centers, one in Denmark, in Aarhus, and the other in Buenos Aires, taking care of South American customers.
The Argentinian facility has the same set up, Jensen said, with the same equipment so AFI can repeat Danish trials. He added that the application centers run hundreds of customer product trials every week.
“All ingredients are produced using state-of-the-art processing technology at our plant in Denmark, or by one of our joint ventures in Argentina, Germany and the UK.”
Adjusting according to market
Jensen said that there are regional differences, which need to be considered.
Arla Foods Ingredients products
- Casein glycomacropeptide
- Functional Milk Proteins
- Milk minerals
- Phospholipids & MFGM
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
“Of course we need to know each country, each has their own cream cheese, their own yogurt, so we need to know about viscosity, taste, protein level, cost level and it is important that we know that before we start working with a client in a certain country.”
“We are launching worldwide concepts, after that you have to be able to adapt it to separate countries, and that's actually one of our strengths.
“It is a question of supply and adapting the recipes to be in line with the product's design in different countries. A yogurt in Japan has to be different from a yogurt in Spain, for instance. There is a difference in the texture and in the taste, so this is important to know.”
Arla Foods Ingredients is a 100% owned subsidiary of Arla Foods, a global dairy company and cooperative owned by dairy farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.