Danish dairy group Arla Foods has resumed minimal production for Middle Eastern markets as sales are gradually recovering from the devastating boycott, a spokesperson for the company told just-food today (30 June).


“Sales were decimated by the boycott and it will take a long time and much hard work to rebuild Arla’s operations in the Middle East,” the spokesperson said. “We have a long way to go before sales recover, but we have seen some improvement.”


Sales of the company’s dairy goods were hit hard by the wave of anti-Danish sentiment that swept the Islamic world in January after the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper.


Arla said that Middle Eastern sales have returned to approximately 25% of their pre-boycott levels.


In the autumn the sell-by-date on many products will pass – “if we want our goods to be stocked in stores, to give consumers the option of buying them, we must make fresh products and deliver them to the market,” the spokesperson explained.

To this end, the company has said that one of its plants, in Nibe, will resume production for the Middle East. Eight of the plant’s 50 employees, who lost their jobs as a result of the boycott, have been rehired.