Dairy company, Arla Foods, is paving the way to build one of the biggest banks of research on the health and nutritional status of Bangladesh and its rural population’s dairy perceptions and practices. Having taken both a literature and a field-based approach to gathering knowledge, the symposiums were conducted in conjunction with the recognized research institute: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, (icddr,b) and Aarhus University in Denmark. The results of the latter research project were recently presented in a symposium titled “Empowering consumers in rural Bangladesh – bringing nutrition to the next mile”.
The seminar was moderated by Arla and the Dutch-based NGO, Bopinc. It was also attended by officials from partners in the icddr,b, BopInc, along with stakeholders from academia, governmental bodies, NGOs and the relevant consumer goods industry.
Presenting her field based research during the second symposium, Masters Student, Mia Meldgaard Knudsen, of Aarhus University, Denmark, outlined the importance on Bangladesh’s place on milk as part of a healthy diet and that they consider fresh milk to be the healthiest which is why it is prioritized for children in the household. This led her to conclude that the value of dairy in the diet across all age groups isn’t widely understood and that trust in dairy beyond fresh milk needs to be built.
These insights, along with the thorough understanding of the nutritional needs of the nation and nutritional deficiencies among specific population groups and segments in Bangladesh gained by Arla will not only be used by the company to direct future product developments under its DANO brand, but are expected to be instrumental in supporting the Second Bangladesh National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN2) in the effective implementation of its global goals as well as to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In his opening remark, Peter Hallberg, Managing Director, of Arla Foods Bangladesh, said: “Arla Foods is committed to contributing positively to the societies in which we operate, and behaving responsibly is an inherent part of Arla’s culture. Through our great collaboration with icddr,b, a well-recognized and respected research institute in Bangladesh, and with Aarhus University, we now have a holistic study of the health and nutritional status of the Bangladeshi population, which will serve as a scientific foundation for Arla to build on new product innovations for our Dano brand. The research will enable us to specifically target and refine these innovations to continue to improve the nutritional status of certain consumer groups as we pursue our mission to give everyone in the country access to affordable, safe and nutritious dairy products.”
Growth isn’t Arla’s only agenda. In a country in which 56 per cent of children are underweight and malnutrition is prevalent, Arla is determined to give everyone access to affordable, nutritious dairy products.
This was the inspiration behind the development of DANO Daily Pushti – a fortified filled milk powder, in a sachet format, especially designed to be within the reach of the lower income segment. A pioneer in its category, the dairy product is the first of its kind in Bangladesh to win the major populations’ favorite brand.
In an effort to enable access to this new source of affordable nutrition to the rural, hard-to-reach areas, Arla joined hands with Dutch-based NGO bopinc and in Bangladesh with NGO dNet and social enterprise, iSocial. to create jobs for female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. This partnership, aptly named as Pushti Ambassadors, mobilize female entrepreneurs to sell these products in rural communities, not only enabling their own economic empowerment, but improving nutrition in rural Bangladesh.
Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by 9,400 farmers from Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Arla Foods is one of the leading players in the international dairy arena with well-known brands like Arla®, Lurpak®, Puck®, Castello® and Dano®. Arla Foods is focused on providing good dairy nourishment from sustainable farming and operations and is also the world's largest manufacturer of organic dairy products. Dano® gives access to milk to millions of Bangladesh people at an affordable price. The company has already created over 1600 direct and additional indirect jobs with its operation in Bangladesh.