Lurpak enlists help of salt producer to boost flagging sales

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sea salt, Denmark

Arla Foods, the Danish-Swedish dairy co-operative, has announced an
unexpected trade alliance with a traditional Danish producer of sea
salt, in a bid to bolster flagging sales of its Lurpak butter
brand. Tom Armitage reports.

The move, which follows an extensive period of research and development into the Lurpak formulation, will involve Laeso Saltsyderi, a salt works based in Laesoe, Denmark, supplying Arla with 5 tons of sea salt per annum.

The salt is reputed to be the most expensive in Denmark because of the small-scale artisanal production technique. The pyramidal salt crystals, which contain 5 per cent minerals, trace elements, and iodine, are made using lengthy handmade production techniques dating back to the Middle Ages, which prevents mass production.

Arla Foods believes that the inclusion of the handmade product will strengthen the Lurpak brand's domestic appeal, as well as communicating to Danish consumers that Lurpak is a dairy product with a strong traditional, regional focus.

Speaking to DairyReporter.com​, Poul Christensen of the Laesoe salt works commented: "Arla asked us to supply a small amount of sea salt, and it was possible to produce the precise amount without having to alter our production methods."​ The agreement will represent a shift in annual production from 45 to 50 tonnes.

By appointing Laesoe to supply it with sea salt, Arla has effectively secured exclusive rights to a luxury niche ingredient, with the all-important added-value potential.

According to Christensen, Laesoe is "very selective about who we supply, but that is because we are small and can not sell to everyone"​. He added that "the salt is, so to speak, selling itself without problems, and without any additional efforts on our behalf"​.

Working with the EU's leading dairy co-operative, Christensen believes, will provide equal benefits to both companies.

"Denmark is the world's best butter producer and Lurpak butter is the pride of Danish agriculture. Lurpak with Laeso Salt will appeal to consumers who consider that butter is a tasty experience in itself,"​ he said.

Arla product manager Laurent Ponty claimed that although "consumers know Lurpak is a quality product"​, it is still "necessary to continue to strengthen a classic brand"​.

Lurpak has in recent times seen its market share decline, following increased pressure from competitors. The company hope the new partnership will up long-term sales, eventually resulting in a 3-4 per cent increase in its market share.

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