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Danish dairy giant Arla Foods is to enter the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee category as part of a joint venture with Starbucks.

The companies announced the agreement today (21 January), which will see Arla manufacture, distribute and market Starbucks-branded premium RTD coffee beverages in Europe.

”Starbucks is a super brand around the world, based on strong values and high quality products and we are very pleased about the fact that Starbucks and Arla will work together in the European RTD cold coffee business,” said Arla CEO Peder Tuborgh.

Rich DePencier, vice president of Starbucks’ international consumer products business, said the company wanted to take its namesake brand into Europe.

“The success we have had bringing ready-to-drink coffee products to consumers in North America and Asia demonstrates the global potential of the business and we are proud to join with Arla Foods to bring our premium RTD beverages to consumers in Europe,” DePencier said.

Arla is one of the largest dairy companies in the world, with a strong presence in northern Europe.

The company last week announced it was increasing its marketing spend by 30% for 2010 in a bid to “reinforce” its position in the industry after a year when the company faced strong price competition.

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By GlobalData