Leading global dairy company, Arla Foods has restated its commitment to addressing the growing need of people around the world, including Nigerians, for nutritious, tasty, safe and affordable food products. The company also pledged to continuously participate in finding solutions for the global challenges related to obesity, under-nutrition, environment and climate.
The company made the pledge during a recent visit by the Nigerian Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon. Heineken Lokpobiri and other officials of the ministry to its headquarters in Denmark for the official opening of the Arla Foods Global Innovation Centre.
The centre is located in Skejby, the heart of the Danish food cluster and the cluster of innovation excellence across Denmark. It was created and designed to facilitate cutting-edge innovation in food processing by bringing all the key players into play: consumers, customers, small and medium-sized enterprises, universities and their students, suppliers, technical institutions, professional associations, among others.
Giving reasons for the setting up of the centre, the Chief Executive Officer, Arla Foods, Peder Tuborgh said the centre was conceived as part of the company’s vision to create the future of dairy to bring health and inspiration to the world, naturally.
“To be at the very forefront of the industry, it will require investments in research and innovation and our new Arla Foods Global Innovation Centre aims to bring not only innovation in Arla, but to bring the global dairy industry into a new era,” he said.
He pointed out that with the population estimated to hit the nine billion mark in 2050, there should be concerns over food security. “When you think about the growing world population, you can either worry about it – or you can start acting to respond to the expected increase, and that is what we are doing at Arla Foods with our new Global Innovation Centre,” he added.
The centre is expected to function through proactive partnerships with universities, private partners and research institutions and supported by public funding, with its research supporting the development of healthy, tasty, and safe dairy products.
Such research, the company said, will in the long term focus on major scientific and technical challenges faced by the dairy industry like health and nutrition, improving the nutritional profile of dairy products, increasing the shelf life of products to enable them to travel across geographies, securing the food safety to ensure top quality products despite long distances, high temperatures and various types of transportation.
The centre will be a major contributor to making advancement in science and technology around health and nutrition of dairy products, and will also ensure the short term application and technology transfer of knowledge to enable new products to be introduced in markets and resolving problems in its manufacturing sites.
The Arla Foods Global Innovation Centre, Tuborgh disclosed, will be open to the public and will enable new ways of cooperating and bringing expertise together for win-win partnerships. Students will be trained to use first-rate equipment and facilities to develop and grow their skills and expertise before entering the job market. Arla staff will also benefit from continuous training programmes provided through collaboration with the best researchers and professors in the country.
“There is still a lot more to understand about milk’s role in fighting global challenges such as lifestyle diseases and under-nourishment – and we aim to gain and promote this knowledge. Also there is still more to learn about sustainable production and packaging of dairy. Despite an increased production, we have been able to continuously reduce our impact on climate. Arla’s dairy products can therefore form an important part of a sustainable diet, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO),” he said.
The Nigerian delegation included the Director, Animal Husbandry, Mr John Taiwo; Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin and the Technical Assistant on Quality Control & Standardization to the Minister, Mrs. Heather R. Akanni.