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The sleeping beauty effect: How hibernating products are expanding Danish dairy company worldwide

Distance is no longer a difficulty for one of Europe’s largest dairy cooperatives, which has pioneered an innovative, natural, no preservative transport solution for fresh dairy products. The new technology is enabling Arla Foods’ European heritage to travel internationally, creating global growth opportunities.

Every year, Arla exports more than 1 billion kilo of products based on milk from the company’s 10,300 farmer owners from across Northern Europe to international markets as far afield as Asia, the US and Australia. While some fresh dairy products are frozen and flown, this method doesn’t suit the majority of Arla’s fresh portfolio, triggering its innovation team to investigate alternative transport solutions. Today, the company reveals it has developed a revolutionary supercooling tool that enables fresh products to travel long distances on ships, opening up international export opportunities.

“An easy and well known way to distribute foods to distant markets is freezing and flying but this destroys the quality of some of our products. We’re seeing more and more markets requesting chilled, fresh tasting and natural products rather than frozen products that require defrosting or products with preservatives. Our new, innovative cooling tool overcomes this challenge, creating possibilities to expand our product portfolio globally,” says Lars Dalsgaard, SVP Product and Innovation.

Arla is investigating the properties of each individual dairy product and understanding the conditions it will encounter during the journey from a European cow to, for example, an Asian consumer. These in depth studies are enabling the company to identify precisely which factors affect product quality during transportation.

“We have found that the relationship between time and advanced cooling is one of the keys to unlocking portfolio limitations in markets outside of Europe. Controlling these variables enables us to put the product into hibernation mode, or ‘to sleep’, a bit like Sleeping Beauty – and deliver it fresh and in top quality at its arrival,” explains Lars.

A supercool new launch in Australia

Expanding the range of Castello® cheeses in Australia to fulfill the needs and demands of Australian consumers has long been on the company’s wish list. Given the country’s geographical location and distance from Denmark, where a large proportion of the Castello range is produced, it’s proved a challenge to bring some of brand’s short shelf-life products to market because they can’t be frozen.

Recently, the first shipment of supercooled Castello® Decorated Cream Cheeses docked in Australia, having been stored in special containers under super cooled conditions.

“We are thrilled by the quality of the product and excited to launch a unique and premium offering of cream cheeses for Aussie consumers. Supercooling has been instrumental for the launch of Castello® Decorated Cream Cheeses, but this is just the beginning!” says brand manager for Castello in Australia, Rucha Sarma.

Coming to more markets

The new process can unlock significant growth opportunities by bringing a broader portfolio of short shelf-life products to markets.

“This may sound simple, but achieving the extremely precise time versus temperature balance, which supercooling requires, demands unwavering persistence and passionate focus from our innovation team. In close collaboration with supply chain, logistics and local markets, they’re making mission impossible, very possible,” says Lars.

The new tool is currently being tested on a range of different fresh dairy products from milk and yogurt to cheeses.

Source: Arla Foods