Arla Foods, the dairy group, is to cut 250 jobs across its global operations as it looks to ride out the global economic downturn and weak demand for high-end dairy products.

The company, which makes brands including Lurpak butter and Castello cheese, told just-food today (16 April) that half of the jobs lost would be administrative posts in Denmark.

The other half of the affected positions are administrative jobs in Sweden, the UK and in other unnamed markets.

A spokesman for Arla said the company would also pull back from filling 50 positions that had previously been open.

“This is simply to keep costs low in what is a very rough sea,” the Arla spokesman said. “This is primarily due to a very hard-pressed market for dairy products.”

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In February, Arla warned that the global economic downturn had hit demand for dairy, with consumers buying less expensive products.

After filing profits for 2008 described as “not satisfactory” by Arla CEO Peder Tuborgh, the company is looking to reduce costs by DKK1bn (US$177.4m) this year.

Arla has already reduced the price it pays its farmer-members for milk twice and the company sees further cost cuts as necessary.

The spokesman insisted production jobs would not be affected by the current round of costs. He added that the cuts would not affect Arla’s five-year strategy – outlined in October – to invest in product innovation and boost its presence in selected overseas markets.