Speaking to Food Manufacture, Wilkinson addressed criticism of animal agriculture and the potential damage it could cause to the environment though the creation of greenhouse gases.
He described the balance that needed to be met between meeting and delivering Arla’s climate ambitions – and acknowledging where more could be done – with keeping the nation fed.
“It’s also making sure that from a nutritional perspective, dairy plays such a strong positive part for humans that also needs to be considered in that argument,” he explained.
Wilkinson went on the discuss the work Arla has done to boost the sustainability of its farmer owners, as well as the actions it has taken to reduce emissions produced by productions and cut down on food waste by replacing use-by dates with best-before dates on milk.
“Other areas we’ve been looking at have been packaging, so since 2015 we’ve reduced our use of plastic in our milk bottles by just over 25% and this has saved 12,000 tonnes of plastic,” he added.
“Lacto-Free, another one of our brands, has also switched into a bio-based carton that is made from renewable materials as well. Our overall total target around packaging is 100% recyclable by 2025 and 0% virgin plastic used in our packaging by 2030.”
Also discussed in this podcast interview was the impact of the growing plant-based movement and what it meant for Arla. Ultimately, Wilkinson still saw a place for dairy in the future of people’s diets, but the company was exploring plant-based options as well.
Meanwhile, the Government must build on its Food Strategy white paper by supporting the dairy trade's expansion in the UK and export markets, according to Arla Foods UK boss Ash Amirahmadi.