Arla Foods has officially opened a €190 million expansion of its dairy production facility in Germany in a bid to meet global demand.
In its biggest dairy investment to date, the European cooperative is increasing the production of milk powder at its site at Pronsfeld in the west of the country.
Construction of the new production plant began in 2019. It will process 685 million kilograms of milk/year, and includes a 51m drying tower as its centerpiece.
The facility will produce around 90,000t of high-quality milk powder annually.
The Pronsfeld site covering 55ha, the equivalent of 77 soccer fields, is one of the largest milk plants in Europe, supplying dairy products to approximately 70 countries.
Around 1,000 people are employed at the facility which processed 1.5 billion kg of milk in 2021.
The milk comes from Arla farmers in the area of Rhineland-Palatinate, north Rhine-Westphalia, Luxembourg and Belgium with Wallonia and Flanders.
The expansion of Pronsfeld dairy will also help Arla meet its climate goals through an improved sustainability profile and energy efficiency.
As there is currently no green energy alternative to the natural gas used for the new production facility, as a short-term solution, Arla will purchase green electricity certificates corresponding to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for both the gas and electricity.
Arla is also working on replacing 25% of the natural gas used in the production facility with hydrogen in the future.
Arla is owned by almost 9,000 farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The expansion in Germany will support expected annual branded volume growth of 5-7% in Arla’s international business in line with the company’s five-year strategy called ‘FUTURE26’.
Commenting on the official opening, Peder Tuborgh, CEO at Arla Foods, said:
“Securing that as many as possible have access to a good, nutritious diet every day is one of the biggest challenges we face globally.
“As part of our recently launched FUTURE26 strategy, we will strengthen and expand our business in international markets such as the Middle East, West Africa and southeast Asia where the demand for affordable, nutritious dairy products exceeds local production as well as local supply.
“As the largest Arla dairy in the world with a strong export business, the new production plant gives the Pronsfeld an even greater place in the growth strategy of our international business,” Tuborgh said.