Arla affected by cartoons of Muhammed
- 26 January 2006
- Press contact
Consumers in Saudi Arabia have been urged to boycott Danish goods – including products from Arla Foods.
Over the last few days, Saudi TV and newspapers have reported on the Danish newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten’s series of cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. In connection with the reports, Saudi media have reported on calls for consumers to boycott Danish products and have shown pictures of Arla’s butter, feta and processed cheese, which are sold in the Middle East.
Moreover, in Friday prayers on January 20, religious leaders in Saudi Arabia advised worshippers not to buy Danish products, including those from Arla, in protest against Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons.
E-mails and sms messages are circulating lists of the Danish products that consumers are urged to boycott.
In one supermarket chain, Danish products, including Arla’s, have been removed from the shelves and replaced by a sign reading “Danish products were here” Other stores have kept the products on the shelves, but have put yellow tape around them alongside a sign reading “Danish products”.
In one incident, stones were thrown at a vehicle carrying Arla products and Arla employees have been thrown out of stores along with their products.
“We can confirm that our sales have been affected,” says Finn Hansen, Executive Director, Arla Foods. “Some of our customers have informed us that they will cancel orders with us and some stores have removed our products from their shelves.”
Arla Foods regrets the effect which the cartoons have had on many Muslims.
“For many years, Arla has traded, and enjoyed good relations with consumers in the Middle East. In fact, we have more Muslim than Danish consumers. We respect all religions and wish to express our sympathy and understanding for those who feel wronged by this incident. Obviously, Arla Foods does not support anything that offends people’s religion or ethnic background,” says Finn Hansen.
He calls for the parties involved to find a solution through dialogue.
Arla Foods is an international dairy company owned by 9,900 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® and Castello®. 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.