Arla Foods has extended its dairy brand line-up in the UK with the launch of Arla Quark to cater for what the co-op called “the relatively unknown but fastest-growing cheese category in the UK”.

The European dairy cooperative said soft cheese is “very well-known in Europe, but has taken hold in the UK amongst consumers looking to low fat, tasty, alternatives for ingredients such as ricotta, mascarpone and other soft cheeses”.

James Prentice, the senior brand manager of Arla’s UK cheese team, said: “With health and well-being so much on the agenda and the growing popularity of quark as a healthy ingredient to cook with, we believe Arla Quark is launching at just the right time to capitalise on this trend. Arla Quark is the perfect example of Arla’s commitment to provide healthy innovation from milk and the cheese team has further plans for more Arla-branded cheese innovation in the future.”

Arla said as Quark is “still a relatively unknown ingredient and a bit of a mystery to many” and its new range comes with recipe suggestions on the inside of cartons “designed to highlight the benefits of Quark”.

Arla Quark is available at Asda in three varieties: a plain variant in a 500g, as well as two 250g lines – cherry tomato and basil, plus garlic and herb.

Earlier this year, Arla unveiled plans to grow its revenue in the UK by nearly a third and make the firm a GBP400m (US$490m) household brand by 2020, in what it said was its “most ambitious business strategy to date” in the country. In addition, Arla said it would extend its pipeline of healthier dairy products “with at least 30 new dairy concepts and 50 new range extensions”.