A new partnership between Arla and three national food charities will provide dairy products to thousands of vulnerable families during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The farmer-owned dairy co-operative will work alongside FareShare, Food4Heroes and Magic Breakfast to donate thousands of tonnes of butter, cheese, yoghurt and milk previously destined for food service to vulnerable families across the country.
Arla had already committed more than 35 per cent its milk produced at its site in Settle, North Yorkshire to the Government’s care packages and has contributed to the production of 27,000 meals by Food4Hereos to NHS staff each week.
Recent weeks have seen severe milk market turmoil due to the closure of the food service sector, with swathes of farmers across the UK dumping milk alongside price reductions and delayed payments.
Acknowledging the impacts Covid-19 has had on the dairy industry, and the amount of surplus milk on the market, Jonathan Dixon, vice president of foodservice for Arla Foods UK, said produce would be distributed to
those who need it most, such as ’front line workers in hospitals and children who need nutritious produce to stay healthy at this time’.
He said: “While we are delighted to be able to provide this support in these difficult times, we do so knowing there are many dairy farmers being severely impacted by the loss of business from foodservice companies.
“We hope that those who can afford to do so, continue to support Britain’s farming communities at this time by buying delicious dairy for their home cooked meals.”
School children across the UK will also receive milk during the next 12 weeks to ensure they do not miss out on a ‘nutritious start to the day’.
Alex Cunningham, chief executive officer of Magic Breakfast, said: "We have been receiving many messages of thanks from schools in response to us telling them their most vulnerable families can receive vouchers for milk for their children’s breakfasts during lockdown.
“We are incredibly grateful to Arla for stepping in to provide this essential service to children at risk of hunger at this most challenging of times.”
Michael Shields, commercial manager at FareShare, also thanked Arla for its donation of UHT products.
He said: “Over the last month we have seen almost 500 new charities sign up to receive food from FareShare so our need has never been greater. Arla’s donation has been essential in enabling us to continue tackling hunger across the UK.”