Describing the new factory as a “very exciting development”, Luis Cubel, sales director for Arla Foods Ingredients’ Permeate & Lactose Business, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Arla Foods Ingredients has not previously supplied the UK with very much lactose, mainly because the market there generally demands that all lactose ingredients are certified halal, kosher and vegetarian.
The plant will be established next to Arla Foods Ingredients’ existing main protein factory and will have an annual capacity for 85,000t of lactose.
Construction is scheduled for completion by October 2014 and the plant will be fully operational in 2016. 20 new jobs will be created.
Growing demand for lactose
The new factory will be designed to satisfy growing demand for lactose in the infant formula industry.
Combined with Arla’s existing joint-venture plants in Germany, the added capacity will increase the company’s overall lactose volumes to around 135,000t a year.
Henrik Andersen, ceo of Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “We have had a very constructive dialogue with a number of leading customers regarding their future demands for lactose quality, and our new plant will deliver on these demands.
“To date, we have been able to utilise and process all the constituents of the raw milk supplied by our owners, with the exception of one: the lactose that is released when we concentrate the protein from the whey.
“The new lactose factory will enable us to achieve optimum processing of all the constituents of milk and therefore produce profitable lactose products for the food industry.”
Ambitious global strategy
The new facility is part of Arla’s ambitious global strategy to double its revenue between now and 2017. To implement this, it is planning a number of dairy expansions and new facilities to increase production of its most profitable whey-based products for export.
It is also looking to increase sales of its global brand Lurpak butter.
In the UK, the company plans to implement a “challenging carbon reduction strategy”, which includes an overall target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 34% by 2020.
For this, Arla will consider packaging innovations and review its energy sources. It will also invest in its fleet to reduce its carbon impact, including taking delivery of an additional 19 combination trailers to deliver finished product and collect raw milk.