The category would have declined £118M without Arla’s sales claimed the company. The £95M is the value of all the sales of Arla’s added-value milk in 2016, minus the value sales figure if they were sold at the price of standard fresh milk.
Arla’s sales followed a trend across the total milk category, which saw 5M consumers choose added-value milk over standard fresh milk last year.
Sales of Arla’s branded milk grew 12%, supported by several product launches, including: Arla BOB skimmed milk, Arla Farmers Milk and Arla Cravendale 250ml.
It also launched a number of own-label added-value milk products for supermarkets, including Asda Vitamin D Milk and Morrisons Milk for Farmers.
Arla Foods UK md Tomas Pietrangeli said the sales were reinvigorating the category and driving value for its farmer owners.
“Milk has always been a nutritious staple for British consumers, but it is exciting to see people increasingly view it as more than that – a desirable, versatile drink suitable for different occasions and with different benefits,” he said.
The farmer-owned dairy company’s revenue fell by £300M in 2016, but said it performed strongly against a “tough backdrop” in the UK.
Growth of its branded products meant Arla UK would make a “positive” impact on group’s full-year trading update, it said.
Its lacto-free product range sales were up 18%, while its yogurt sector more than doubled year-on-year sales (116%).
In a trading statement last month, Pietrangeli said: “In a year of continuing changes in the grocery market as well as political uncertainty, we were able to deliver a strong set of results by driving growth in the UK through our portfolio of popular products, and delivering efficiencies and cost savings in our supply chain.”
Meanwhile, Arla Foods pledged to invest about £37.5M in its UK sites and logistics operations this year – 51% more than last year.