All about Arla Foods

Published on: 4 Jan 2017



As one of the biggest food companies in the world, Arla Foods will definitely crop up on your radar when you are looking for food jobs. They are based in Denmark but operate internationally, and this means that they provide jobs around the world for all kinds of skill sectors.

They were first formed in the year 2000, when Swedish dairy group Arla merged with Danish dairy giant MD Foods. Since then they have gone from strength to strength – as you are about to see. If you are at all interested in Arla jobs, make sure that you read through our summary here to prepare for an interview.


Arla Foods is based in Aarhus in Denmark, and they are known for being the biggest producer of dairy products in Scandinavia. When judged on the scale of the world, they are ranked 7th in terms of dairy turnover. When you compare them to other cooperative dairy companies, they are the third biggest. In short, they are big news.

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What kind of products will you be making if you go into Arla careers? Their three major brands are Arla, Lurpak, and Castello. Lurpak is known for butter and spreads, while Castello is a cheese brand. The name Arla has an interesting origin: it’s an old Swedish term which means “early in the morning”, and comes from the same root as the English word “early”.

They also have a subsidiary called Arla Foods Ingredients, which deals with milk-based ingredients for the food industry. They have a production plant in Denmark used exclusively for their products, as well as joint plants in Argentina and Germany. They even have another venture together with DMK: ArNoCo, which produces whey proteins.

Their History

The first co-operative dairy to start the whole ball rolling was established in Vastmanland in 1881. It was called Arla Mejeriförening. In 1915, a co-operative called Landtmännens Mjölkförsäljningsförening was formed, though they later changed their name to the much easier Mjölkcentralen. This group went through a number of successes and mergers up to 1974, when they registered the name Mjölkcentralen Arla instead.

In 1975, they cropped the name right down to just Arla, a much easier and quicker name to use. By continuing to grow and merge, in 1999 Arla were responsible for 65% of the Swedish milk production.

In the meantime, Denmark’s history of co-operative dairies also began early, in 1882. By 1945 there were 1,650 such co-operatives, and Mejeriselskabet Danmark or MD was established in 1970. By 1990 they had acquired the fifth biggest dairy company in the UK, Associated Fresh Foods, and 6 years later there were just 6 co-operatives left in Denmark. It was time to expand to bigger horizons.

MD and Arla merged in 2000 after 5 years of working closely together. Since then, their collaborations have extended as far as Canada, China, the USA, Finland, the UK, Germany, and more. In 2012 they made the achievement of opening the largest fresh milk plant in the world – based in Aylesbury in the UK.

They have not been without controversy in their time. They have weathered a boycott of Danish products which went on in 2006 in the Middle East, and which was sparked by some political cartoons. They were also involved in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal which saw melamine being added to dairy products, through their joint venture company Arla Mengniu. They appear to have come out of these troubled times relatively unscathed.

Their Jobs

There are a wide range of careers at Arla Foods, from the top levels of management down to production at the lowest level.

Whether you want to work internationally, are looking for graduate jobs, or just want to start from the bottom, check Arla jobs on to apply.