Milk buyer and processor Arla Foods has recorded 9.2% full year growth in the UK, its largest country market, compared to 8% growth across the whole group.

The Danish co-operative has posted earnings before tax of €385 million on revenues of €10.34 billion in the year to December 31st 2017, compared to €505m and €9.48bn in 2016. The UK operation saw retail and foodservice revenues of £1.94bn (€2.21bn), up from £1.79bn (€2.19bn) in the prior year.

Arla’s brands delivered strong growth with 9% from Lurpak butter 16% for Anchor butter and 18% overall growth for Arla branded dairy products.  The Arla brand range includes new products Arla Skyr (up 45%), Arla Protein (69%) and Arla Best of Both (45%).

The company says the growth, alongside its recent £72 million investment plan for the UK business, shows Arla’s commitment to continue building the UK dairy industry. It adds that its co-operative model enables it to drive growth while balancing challenges facing the dairy industry such as volatility in the global milk market, a weak British pound and Brexit uncertainties.

“Arla was both the fastest growing FMCG brand in the UK and the only leading dairy company delivering branded growth,” says Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director of Arla Foods UK. “We also saw significant wins in both foodservice and own label offering in 2017 such as the Morrisons’ fresh milk tender win. I believe that we are in a strong position to deliver on our 2020 Good Growth strategy.

“Our commitment to our ambitious plans is certainly driving financial returns and we will be focused on this again during this year.  Making innovative and inherently natural dairy products, produced responsibly and sustainably, enables us to continue to deliver in an ever-increasing consumer driven grocery market,” concludes Mr Pietrangeli.