The dairy giant, which produces brands including Cravendale milk, Anchor butter and Lurpak butter and spreads, announced the move yesterday (November 27).
A spokeswoman for Arla Foods UK told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “A small number of management and administrative roles at sites will be affected but the majority of roles are based at Arla’s UK head office in Leeds.”
Arla said the decision was part of a strategy to invest in its commercial, marketing and innovation work, boost the performance of its brands and improve its service to trade customers.
“The changes that we have announced will enable us to dial-up our innovation and use the inherent healthy credentials that dairy has to offer,” said Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, Arla Foods UK executive vice-president.
“We have ambitious plans next year including further investment in our Arla brand and launching a range of new products in our current and new categories.”
The co-operative confirmed it had started consulting affected staff about the restructure and would be able to verify the outcome early next year.
“We will be working across our organisation to limit the number of proposed redundancies and I understand that this will be an uncertain time for some of our colleagues and their families,” said Giørtz-Carlsen.
“However, the plans that we are announcing today will leave us better placed to remain the strongest and best performing dairy company in the future.”
Russian import ban
The development follows Arla’s announcement in August of proposals to slash 79 jobs in Denmark as a result of the continuing Russian ban on EU dairy imports.
Arla has invested more than £500M in its UK business in recent years and its UK operations have undergone big changes, including its merger with Milk Link in 2012.
In May, the business opened a £150M fresh milk facility at Ashton Clinton, Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, which it claims is the largest in the world, able to process 240,000 litres of milk an hour. The site has the potential to employ up to 700 people.
Millions of pounds
Arla also planned to pump millions of pounds into its Oswestry cheese packaging site this year, as well as sites in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
On the wider European stage, Arla agreed to merge with Belgian co-operative Walhorn in May.
Arla Foods now boasts more than 3,000 British dairy farmers in its UK milk supply group.