Arla will create a new product and innovation organisation as it seeks to be at the forefront of innovation in the global dairy sector.
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The Danish company said it sees an opportunity to strengthen its innovation and global product agenda and “thereby enhance its strong competitive advantage within key categories”.
Going forward, the new organisation will be responsible for all product-related activities, which encompass research and technology development, product development and management of all product and packaging changes.
Hanne Søndergaard, Arla executive vice president and CMO, believes that bringing together Arla’s current product management and research and development functions will better leverage the co-operative’s technologies and competencies.
“The new set up will enable closer collaboration with our commercial zones, markets and supply chain, ensuring that we are driving our global innovation and product agendas from the strongest possible position to maximise the value of our products,” she said.
“With the aim for half of our growth to come from innovation, it’s a key element of our strategy and an essential element in our mission to create the highest possible value for the milk supplied by our cooperative owners.”
Heading up the new organisation from 1 April 2019 will be Lars Dalsgaard, who is appointed as SVP of product and innovation. With 35 years of experience in Arla, including six years in the UK, Dalsgaard has been “instrumental” in developing Arla’s footprint both in cheese and ingredients, the company said. He is currently head of global supply chain manufacturing for cheese, butter and powder.
On the appointment, Søndergaard said: “Lars has the perfect combination of skills, expertise and experience within the business and is passionate about taking both our innovation and product agendas to the next level.”
Complementing the creation of the new organisation is the implementation of a new innovation model, which Søndergaard explains will “double the impact in half the time”.
“We will be more experimental, faster to market and roll out successes with speed,” she said. “We’re also placing innovation leadership in market and global/zone brand teams who are closest to our consumers and customers.
“As one of the world’s leading dairy companies, we must be in a position to drive and lead dairy innovation on a global scale in order to increase the value of our products and create new business for Arla worldwide.”
The announcement is one in a series of strategic moves by Arla to drive and lead dairy innovation. In May 2017, it opened its $40 million global centre for innovation in Denmark. And last year, it announced a €36.3 million investment to create a second innovation facility in the country dedicated to research and development innovation within whey and milk-based ingredients.

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