Extra investment has boosted Arla’s status as Best Own-Label Supplier. Stefan Chomka reports

Arla was named winner of The Grocer’s own-label supplier survey back in April for its continued drive in new product development, category management and availability improvement, so it’s fitting it also picks up a Grocer Gold award in own label.
The company continues to expand its business through key brands, such as Lurpak and Cravendale, which have helped add value to the sector, but it is in own-label milk that it is investing heavily.
Last September, Arla opened what it claims is the most technologically-advanced dairy in
Europe, at Stourton in Leeds, which supplies more than 300 million litres a year. The dairy has helped the company bolster its position as exclusive supplier to Asda while it continues to supply Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Somerfield and Tesco.
Arla is also strengthening its position in Scotland, building a dairy in Lockerbie from which it will start to supply Scottish Morrisons/Safeway in October.
"We're delighted and pleasantly surprised," says Arla sales director Simon Stevens about receiving The Grocer Gold Award. "It's been a very tough year for the dairy industry. Even though milk is a healthy product consumers don't always realise it is. We've got a massive job to educate consumers."