Arla Foods has inaugurated a cheese production site in Manama, Bahrain to meet the increasing demands for dairy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Over the next two to three years, the Danish dairy cooperative will invest approximately €50 million in the plant, in a move to become the key strategic manufacturing hub for the company in MENA.
The new facility will also create more than 100 direct jobs in the local market.
Arla announced plans to move parts of the production to a newly acquired facility in Bahrain earlier this year, following the acquisition of Mondel?z’s processed cheese business in the Middle East region.
As part of the investment, the majority of Arla’s products sold in the region will now be produced locally at the site in Manama, which will enable the company to further expand its branded cheese production and improve overall efficiency in its supply chain.
The company also expects to improve the shelf-life of these products by up to six weeks, as transport will be reduced significantly. The products will be distributed and sold primarily in the Middle East, as well as the US, West Africa and Southeast Asia.
By 2025, Arla expects to increase annual production in Bahrain to more than 100,000 tons under its Puck, Arla, Danoe and Kraft brands and private label brands.
The opening ceremony was held under the patronage of HRH the Crown Prince of Bahrain and was attended by Arla’s CEO Peter Tuborgh among others.
Arla Foods CEO Peder Tuborgh said: “The Middle East and North Africa is a priority market for us and the inauguration of this production site in the Kingdom of Bahrain consolidates our commitment to the region.
“Our decision to make Bahrain our key manufacturing hub for the MENA region demonstrates our confidence in the Kingdom’s rapidly-growing manufacturing sector and alignment with the nation’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plans.
“Dairy is an integral part of a healthy diet and this new facility will enable us to increase production and step change our innovation speed to meet increasing consumer demand.”
Tuborgh added: “We are confident that Bahrain will be instrumental to the success of Arla’s growth plans and we are grateful to our local partners and the government whose unwavering support and dedication have made today possible.”