Symposium on rural dairy perceptions and practices held
Dairy company, Arla Foods, has built one of the biggest banks of research into the health and nutritional status of Bangladesh and its rural population's dairy perceptions and practices, having taken both a literature and field-based approach to knowledge gathering in collaboration with recognised research institute: Icddr,b, and Aarhus University, Denmark.
The results of the latter research project were recently presented a symposium titled "Empowering consumers in rural Bangladesh - bringing nutrition to the next mile".
It was attended by officials of Arla Foods and its partners ICDDR, B, BopInc, iSocial, dnet along with stakeholders from academia, governmental bodies, NGOs and the food industry, says a press release.
Presenting her research, Mia Meldgaard Knudsen of Aarhus University, Denmark, outlined the importance Bangladeshis place on milk as part of a healthy diet and that they consider fresh milk to be 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 potential 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.
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 Wageningen and Aarhus universities we now have holistic research into the health and nutritional status of Bangladesh, which will serve as a scientific foundation for Arla 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."
One such innovation already launched by Arla in Bangladesh is Dano® Daily Pushti - fortified filled milk powder, in 16-gram sachets, at an affordable price. It was the first product of its kind in Bangladesh and to enable access to this new source of affordable nutrition to the whole nation, Arla collaborated with partners on a project to create jobs for female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. Known as Pushti Ambassadors, the women distribute the product to 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. The company has already created over 1600 direct and additional indirect jobs with its operation in Bangladesh.