2017 The Arla Foods Challenge2019-10-31T14:55:42+00:00

The Arla Foods challenge:

“How to secure relevance of dairy in the sustainable diets of the future?”

The Challenge

We challenge you to create scenarios and innovative ways in which we can ensure that dairy products stay relevant to consumers seeking sustainable and healthy foods, inspiring diets, and good lives in the coming decades. What expectations do you foresee? What kind of products will deliver on the multiple challenges? How can we communicate in an engaging way? How to co-create more, both with other industries, stakeholders, and consumers?


Today we face a global challenge to transform our food systems and our food consumption patterns in order to secure a sustainable future. Agriculture has been identified as one of the major contributors to global warming and puts pressure on limited planetary resources like freshwater and biodiversity, and our diets have been pinpointed as possible levers of change. What we choose to eat and how that food is produced will be highly influential as the global population increases and becomes wealthier.

Food consumption is a key factor for health. Our dietary choices are identified as the primary modifiable risk factor in many parts of the world; whether or not we live healthily. Current prevalence of malnutrition and obesity are huge challenges today, co-existing in both developed and developing parts of the world.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization has defined sustainable diets as diets being protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair, and affordable, as well as nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy, while optimizing natural and human resources. These multiple dimensions pose a great challenge to the food industry. Farmer-owned Arla Foods is dedicated to further improving the sustainability performance of our value chain, from cow to consumer, and to continue to offer a wide range of healthy inspiring products that fit into a balanced and healthy diet. We are convinced that responsibly and sustainably produced dairy products have the qualities required to contribute to sustainable diets. At the very least because it is a food group that supplies affordable, high-quality nutrients, thereby delivering on food and nutritional security for consumers. In addition, dairy production contributes substantially to people’s livelihoods globally. Thus, dairy has significant socioeconomic as well as environmental impact with many links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

But how can we become more innovative and fulfill high expectations in a future marketplace?

About Arla Foods

Arla Foods is an international cooperative based in Aarhus, Denmark, and the largest producer of dairy products in Scandinavia. Arla Foods was formed as the result of a merger between the Swedish dairy cooperative Arla and the Danish dairy company MD Foods on 17 April 2000.

Arla Foods is the seventh largest dairy company in the world measured by turnover. Among the cooperative dairy companies, Arla is the third largest in the world. At the start of 2010, 7,625 Danish and Swedish cooperative members owned the cooperative.

Arla Foods has three major brands: Arla, Lurpak, and Castello cheeses that are sold worldwide. The Arla Brand is both a co-operative brand and a brand across all product categories. The Lurpak brand of butters and spreads is owned by the Danish Dairy Board, and Castello is a cheese brand including blue cheese and yellow cheeses. The name Arla is derived from the same word as the English word “early” and is an archaic Swedish term for “early (in the morning)”.

Arla Foods incorporates Arla Foods Ingredients, a former division established as an independent subsidiary in 2011. The company develops and manufactures milk-based ingredients, primarily functional and nutritional milk proteins, bioactive phospholipids, minerals, permeate and lactose for the food industry. Their head office is located in Denmark.

Arla Foods Ingredients has one wholly owned production plant in Denmark, with joint venture production at facilities in Argentina and Germany. In early 2011, Arla Foods and DMK formed the joint venture company ArNoCo GmbH & Co. KG, to produce whey proteins for the food industry.

The student challenge team

The team of students within these expertise will work and pressent their solution to the challenge

Speakers at the conference

The speakers for the Arla Challenge.

Anna-Karin Modin Edman,
Sustainability Manager, Arla Foods

Anna-Karin Modin Edman, sustainability manager at Arla Foods since 2013, is passionate about dairy as part of healthy and sustainable diets. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Lund University focusing on system analysis and biogeochemical modelling. She is engaged in implementing the Dairy Sustainability Framework in Arla Foods and is an active member of the Dairy Working Group of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative.

Merete Myrup Christensen,
Director of Dairy Nutrition, Danish Agriculture and Food Council

Merete holds a M.Sc. in biochemistry and nutrition, and a PhD from the Technical University of Denmark. She has many years of experience in working with dairy products and their role in health and nutrition, and is engaged in national, European, and International projects on research and communication of the health effects of dairy products.

John Erik Hermansen,
Agricultural Systems and Sustainability, Aarhus University

John has special experience in organic livestock farming, and has authored multiple publications throughout his academic career. He is presently heading the project “Organic Pig Production”.

Bent Egberg Mikkelsen,
Professor, Aalborg University
Bent Egberg Mikkelsen holds a M.Sc. of Food Science from the Royal Agricultural University, Copenhagen and a PhD in Social Science, from Roskilde University. Bent has acted as the principal investigator on several research projects and his work includes several assignments on nutrition at schools and hospitals for the Council of Europe, food and nutrition at work for the Nordic Council of Ministers, healthy eating at school for the European WHO regional office, and the EU platform for Health, Diet, and Physical activity. He is Professor of Nutrition and Public Food Systems at Aalborg University. He is the past president of the EU expert committee for the school fruit scheme (SFS). He is the member of the advisory boards of ProMeal, Glamur and VeggieEat and FoodLinks EU projects, and a member of scientific panel in the Sapere Taste Education network. He is a member of the management committee of COST action IS1210 and the Richfields consortium on Big Food Data. He is the principal investigator on the SoL Multi-Level Multi-Component community intervention on healthier eating and one of the main drivers behind the Integrated Food Studies and the FoodScapeLab at AAU in Copenhagen

Niels Halberg, 
Centre Director for Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture, Aarhus University
Dr. Halberg has more than 20 years of experience in research and modelling of organic and conventional farming systems including agronomy, economics and resource use, and environmental impact. During the last 10 years as ICROFS director, he has been the overall coordinator of trans-disciplinary research and development programs in Denmark, the EU, and East-Africa. Niels  is also in charge of the contract for research-based policy advice with the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.


  • Session time: August 31th,  10.15 – 12.00

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