Arla Foods has announced plans to move some of the processed cheese and sterilised cream production lines from three of its locations to a recently-acquired plant in the Middle East.

According to the dairy cooperative, production from its Bislev and AKAFA sites in Denmark and its Riyadh plant in Saudi Arabia will be moved to Manama, Bahrain.

The Manama location was acquired from Mondelez International as part of its recent acquisition of the Mondelez’s Kraft branded cheese business in the Middle East and Africa.

This deal was announced in December and formally completed on 28 May. Arla has now taken over the acquired operations.

The cheese production facility in Manama has a production capacity of more than 66,000t and includes an on-site innovation pilot plant.

With the shift in production of processed cheese and sterilised cream to the Manama site, the dairy cooperative expects to boost the shelf life of these products by four weeks.

Arla does not expect the transfer of production to become effective until late 2020 and mid-2021.

Around 26,000t of the annual production of processed cheese from Bislev will be moved.

This will potentially impact around 40 jobs. Almost 18,000t of sterilised cream production from AKAFA will be shifted to the Bahrain plant, thereby potentially impacting around 35 jobs. The volume of processed cheese to be moved from Riyadh is yet to be confirmed.

Arla supply chain head and executive vice-president Sami Naffakh said:  “It makes a lot of sense for us to place the production of these exact products at the newly acquired site in Bahrain, since these products are primarily made for the Middle East and North Africa and in lesser degree for other markets.

“It gives us a strong regional supply chain footprint that enables us to secure long-term competitiveness in the region through scale and efficiency, and the pilot plant at our new Bahrain site will allow us to innovate in new ways within this category.”