Arla Foods adds Yeo Valley to its portfolio

Arla Foods has announced that it will acquire Yeo Valley Dairies, a subsidiary of the Yeo Valley Group. The transaction will give the farmer-owned dairy cooperative the rights to use the Yeo Valley brand in milk, butter, spreads and cheese under an intellectual property licence with Yeo Valley.

The Yeo Valley yogurt, ice cream, cream and desserts business will continue to be run independently through Yeo Valley Group, which remains under the ownership of the Mead family.

Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director, Arla Foods, says, “Our ambition is to encourage customers to trade up from standard to organic milk, butter and cheese, driving overall growth for organic across dairy categories.

“Arla Organic Free Range milk has driven 60% of all the growth within the organic milk category in the last 12 months, with 70% of all Arla Organic Free Range milk sales attributable to customers who would have not previously purchased organic milk. Through the licence to use the Yeo Valley brand, we believe that we can further drive organic penetration of the milk market.”

Tim Mead, organic farmer and custodian of the family business, comments, “Arla’s farmer-owned credentials are aligned to the values and ethos that the Yeo Valley brand is based on – ‘Supporting British Family Farms.’ We have a long-held ambition to grow organic dairy in the UK, because at Yeo Valley, we believe that organic dairy is better for the planet, for the cows and for health.”

Currently in the UK, only 4% of milk sold in the UK fresh milk market is organic, Germany (10%), Sweden (16%) and Denmark (29%).

“This is a great chance for us to catch up with our European neighbours” says Pietrangeli. “Organic milk has a key role to play as consumers increasingly look for ways to make their diets healthier. Its production without the use of artificial or manufactured herbicides and fertilisers and with high standards of animal welfare are key reasons it is in growth, especially with younger consumers. Arla is working with industry bodies to continue to help consumers understand the additional benefits that come with organic milk.”

It is hoped that the agreement will allow Yeo Valley to strengthen its core business of yogurt, desserts and ice cream whilst remaining independent and family-owned.

Completion of the transaction will take place following merger approval by the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

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