Arla Foods to close Michigan cheese plant

Arla Foods to close Michigan cheese plant

Company will move mould cheese production to Denmark to increase efficiency; Wisconsin plant will remain unaffected.

Arla Foods USA is focusing its efforts on premium speciality cheese under the Castello® brand and on establishing a sound platform for developing the U.S. market for particularly high-quality cheese.

”We have some fantastic cheeses from our dairies in Europe and we believe we will have a unique role to play when it comes to the American speciality cheese market,” says the head of Arla Foods USA, Susie Møller Hjorth.

“It means, however, that we need to focus our resources, which is why we have decided to withdraw our locally produced blue range under the Saga® brand from the market. Consequently, we are closing our dairy in Muskegon, Mich.”

The remaining production at Arla’s dairy in Muskegon will be moved to Denmark where production will be more efficient owing to the fact that it will be part of the total production for Arla’s global markets.

In the future Arla Foods USA plans to focus on Castello with an expanded range which includes Havarti cheese and cheese from Allgaüland in the German Alps. Saga Blue Brie, which has been sold in the US market for 30 years, will continue under the Castello brand. Castello Soft Blue will also continue.

Production at Hollandtown unaffected
The decision will take effect in the U.S. market from 2013 and will only affect production of mould cheese. The production of yellow cheese at Arla’s other U.S. dairy in Hollandtown, Wis., is unaffected.

The transfer of production from Muskegon to Denmark will begin in the upcoming autumn. Production at Muskegon dairy will stop at the end of 2012.

Facts about Arla’s production in the U.S.
Hollandtown Dairy in Wisconsin
- Established in 1897.
- 1998: the dairy started up licensed production for Arla Foods.
- 2006: Arla Foods purchased White Clover Dairy.
- Employees: 150
- Production: Havarti, Gouda, Edam, Fontina, Muenster

Muskegon Dairy in Michigan – to close on 31 December 2012
- Established in 1986.
- 2006: Arla Foods acquired the dairy through the purchase of Tholstrup Cheese, which owned the dairy.
- Employees: 20
- Production: Blue brie, Castello soft blue, brie, camembert

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