Arla Foods, Basking Ridge, N.J., opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art global innovation center in Aarhus, Denmark.

Arla’s new innovation center will play a pivotal role in the company’s collaboration with its customers as well as its pursuit of Good Growth 2020. Arla will work with scientists and universities on research within a number of areas such as dairy farming, prevention of lifestyle diseases, innovative packaging and technologies that can make it easier to transport milk and fresh dairy products across continents.

Arla plans to grow its branded sales in the Middle East and North Africa, United States, Sub-Saharan Africa as well as China and Southeast Asia by 2020.

“As a dairy cooperative, we are built on farmers getting together in the 1880s to create better opportunities together. It is in our DNA to collaborate to achieve better results. Our new global innovation center will apply that same approach to our research and development of not just new products, but also new ways to consume them. The global food industry has never been more competitive than it is today, especially in Europe and across the emerging markets with its booming middle class of consumers in Asia, Africa and beyond. The best innovator wins,” says Peder Tuborgh, chief executive officer.

Arla’s new innovation center is situated in a cluster of food industry companies and research centers in Aarhus, which is said to become the “Silicon Valley” of food development and innovation.

“By securing a location in the midst of one of the world’s strongest and most ambitious food clusters, Arla will gain much better opportunities to strike new partnerships and alliances. And, we are confident that our new global innovation center will accelerate and drive the environment and become the beacon that will attract even more international companies and research institutes. It will be a huge asset for us and the entire Danish food cluster,” says Sven Thormahlen, senior vice president of research and development. “Farming and processing are combined every step of the way. All our products contain as few and as natural ingredients as possible, and our systematic approach to health is an integral part of our collaborations with universities and in our product innovation. Everyone is focused on how we can help people live healthier lives and give as many people as possible access to natural, nourishing dairy products.”

The new global innovation center includes an advanced in-house dairy test plant, which can quickly test new ideas and flavors.

“Arla serves retail and foodservice customers around the world, and we are very excited to offer our customers a greater involvement in the innovative process. We believe in open innovation, and our new facility sets the perfect stage for that kind of collaboration,” says Tuborgh.

The new center will also employ 150 specialists from different parts of the world. The building consists of a small and compact dairy pilot plant, a wide range of laboratories, the Consumer House, the Customer Collaboration Lab and modern office facilities designed to support creativity and cross-functional projects.

The Arla Innovation Centre is designed as a carbon neutral building, excluding the process areas, and meets the requirements of the Low Energy Building Class 2020 stipulated by the Danish building regulations. Moreover, Arla installed water saving fixtures throughout, and the building has a total of 525 m2 solar cells on the roof for the production of renewable energy.