Arla is fast tracking its plans to become Europe’s e-commerce leader within the dairy sector.

The dairy co-op aims to double its sales via its customers’ online platforms to €600 million within the next five years.

9,700 milk producers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are joint owners of Arla.

Having witnessed a rapid expansion in its e-commerce sales during the pandemic, with growth doubling in many key markets during 2020, Arla said it is now harnessing this development, as locked-down consumers continue to seek to make further use of the internet.

Future expansion

Over the next three to five years, the business plans to increase investments in its online presence, extending the number of e-commerce employees across the sales and marketing organisation in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland.

Arla aims to double online retail sales from €300 million to €600 million by 2025 across Europe.

“We have a clear goal of becoming a dairy market leader for e-commerce in Europe and continuing to be a preferred partner for our customers,” confirmed Arla’s executive vice-president for Europe, Peter Giortz Carlsen.

E-commerce was on the rise in Europe before the Covid-19 crisis and we had been preparing on the technological side and with our customers for some time.

“The pandemic has rapidly changed behaviours towards online channels and this shift represents an opportunity for us to push our e-commerce ambitions forward in the innovation pipeline and the work is well under way,” he added.

The expanded new e-commerce acceleration team will focus on data analysis, driving online campaigns and visual content to make it easy for the online shopper to find Arla’s household products.

Online shopping

Arla points out that online grocery shopping is here to stay. As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is again limiting movement across the globe, grocery shopping online, including fresh food items such as dairy, is becoming a longer-term change in consumer behaviours.

Carlsen continued:

“We know that consumers still want to be able to choose healthy and sustainable food like dairy when they shop online. Therefore, we want to maximise our online availability and visibility with our customers.

With our new ambitious strategy and increased investments, we are accelerating our online presence and delivering well-known household dairy products to European consumers on a broad range of platforms.

The UK tops Arla’s ‘e-commerce league’ with 17% of the co-op’s total retail sales in that market generated online. During the first wave of the pandemic in the UK, dairy was in virtually every e-commerce basket (97%) while Arla’s online activity increased by 119% in that market during the same period.