Arla Foods has made its debut in UK cottage cheese and taken half the own-label market in one go.

The UK subsidiary of the Scandinavian dairy giant started supplying own-label cottage cheese to Tesco last week and will supply Asda from next month. It will initially produce 7,000 tonnes annually giving it a 50.5% share of the UK own-label cottage cheese market and aims to increase production to 10,000 tonnes annually by 2012.

Cottage cheese fitted well with current consumer eating trends but it was generally overlooked, said Julie Welford, retail brand manager at Arla Foods. "We aim to dispel the myth that cottage cheese is fit only for crackers and jacket potatoes and educate consumers that it can be used in a range of other recipes."

Taster 150g pots of red pepper pesto and pineapple & passionfruit cottage cheese went into Tesco's Lighter Choices range on 9 August and 300g pots of natural, onion & chive, pineapple and value were introduced on 16 August. Arla was working on "an exciting portfolio of new flavours" for the new year and was also considering whether to launch a branded range, according to an Arla spokeswoman.

Sampling will take place in Tesco and Asda, and Arla plans a further campaign in January to capitalise on new year healthy eating.

The cottage cheese is produced using the world's first operational rail-driven cottage cheese production system at Arla's £70m facility at Stourton, Leeds. The UK cottage cheese market is worth £46.7m and has grown 3.2% in value and 3.4% in volume over the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 10 July 2010].