European co-operative Arla Foods says it has delivered financial results and branded sales volumes at the top end of expectations, despite challenges posed by Covid-19.
One of the world’s top 10 dairy processors, Arla aims to double its sales via its customers’ online platforms to over 1 billion dollars (NZ$) across Europe.
Having witnessed a rapid growth in its e-commerce sales during the pandemic, with growth doubling in many key markets during 2020, Arla is now harnessing this development, as locked-down consumers continue to seek out household brands such as Arla and Lurpak during their online shopping.
The farmer-owned cooperative is supercharging its existing e-commerce plans 3-5 years ahead of schedule, increasing investments in its online presence, extending the number of expert e-commerce employees across the sales and marketing organisation in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland and aims to double the retail sales ambition.
“We have a clear goal of becoming dairy market leader for e-commerce in Europe and continuing to be a preferred partner for our customers,” says executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Arla Europe, Peter Giørtz 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,” says Carlsen.
Arla’s ability to fast track its e-commerce plans is partly due to the success of the transformation and cost-savings programme Calcium, as this has ensured that the cooperative is able to shift gears in a very agile way and reinvest in the business to boost online sales across Europe. 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.
It says 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.
With the new e-commerce strategy Arla has set an ambitious goal to have 10% of all retail sales across core European markets come from e-commerce.