Arla Foods has appointed a new brand manager for Cravendale as it attempts to build on the brand’s success last year.

Sam Dolan moves to the role from Arla Foods’ speciality cheese brand Castello where she was also brand manager. In this role she helped develop Castello from a £300,000 to a £1.3m brand, according to Arla Foods. She also helped launch Castello Black in November, which Arla Foods claimed was the UK’s first black-mould cheese.

Her appointment follows an impressive year for Cravendale. In December, The Grocer’s Top Products Survey revealed Cravendale was one of the top-performing brands in grocery last year. It extended its lead over rival brands Alpro and Yeo Valley with sales up 34.4% to £124.4m in the year to 4 October.

In October, Arla Foods said it planned to continue its marketing push for Cravendale in 2009 with a £10m spend aimed at reinforcing the message that Cravendale has a longer shelf life than regular milk.

Dolan, who has worked in fmcg for 17 years at companies including Express Dairies, Richmond Ice Cream and Butterkist, will be responsible for Cravendale marketing initiatives and strengthening the brand’s presence in the milk category.

“I am very excited about working on Cravendale, especially as I started my career in the milk industry more than 17 years ago,” Dolan said. “Cravendale has seen significant growth, particularly in the past year, and I intend to stay focused on continuing its growth through 2009 and beyond.”