The farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla Foods has announced a plan to invest almost half a billion pounds in 2018 as the company continues to deliver on its 2020 growth ambition.

The decision to significantly increase the investments of the company was approved at a meeting in London this week by Arla Foods’ board of directors, which consists mainly of elected farmer owners. Arla Foods will invest in new, expanded and improved production capacity as well as innovative technology.

The £460 million global investment will also see the company have £72 million to spend in UK.

The Chair of Arla Foods, Åke Hantoft, underlines that all investments by Arla Foods are made to secure long-term growth and profit opportunities for the company’s 11,200 farmer owners across Europe.

“Arla has a history of good investments for sustained growth. The board of directors has decided to increase our investments with this plan, because we have identified new projects and investments with short and long term potential for significant return. The business growth these investments will create for our company will generate growth opportunities for our farmer owners. We see these investments as essential to the future of our business," said Mr Hantoft.

Having grown the business by 50 per cent in the last decade, Arla, which now operates in 120 countries worldwide is focusing its investment in four key areas: meeting the growing demand for dairy, healthy and natural products that match consumer lifestyles, leading the way in whey and sustainable food production that considers the future of our planet.

Around £32.5 million will be split across seven Arla sites, including Oswestry and Malpas.