The company has appointed consultant Glendinning to research demand and TDG Scio to examine supply. The results will be available in the spring. The exercise is part of Arla's plans to increase foodservice sales to £100m by 2007. It already has a £50m turnover after the launch of Arla Foodservice 18 months ago. "We want a more robust model on which to base our business plan," said Arla Foodservice director Chris Edge." Arla hopes to become the one-stop shop for dairy, with brands such as Anchor and Lurpak butter, Rosenborg cheese and Cravendale milk.
It believes its £30m marketing support for these brands will create a halo effect, with consumer preferences being driven into foodservice.
Arla has a 14-strong foodservice team and Edge said this could grow to 20.
This week it met managers from its latest acquisition, speciality cheese company HT Webb, to discuss the role it can play in foodservice.
But leading foodservice players say Arla has a tough task. "Its brands will work front of house but at the back of house dairy is a commodity and it is all about price," said one.