Swedish cottage cheese


A tub of Keso, a brand of Swedish cottage cheese

Keso is a brand name used in Sweden for cottage cheese. It is so popular in Sweden that many recipes list cottage cheese under the brand name Keso.

About Keso

Keso is made in Skövde, in the middle of Sweden, from Swedish milk. The milk is curdled by lactic acid and rennet to form the small round cheese grains. It has 4.0 g of fat per 100 g, of which 2.6 g are saturated fats. It has a higher salt content than most other cottage cheeses (0.9 g per 100 g) and a shelf-life of about 2 weeks.

Arla cottage cheese in the UK

A tub of Arla cottage cheese as made for the UK market

Arla also produce cottage cheese for the UK market, but it is slightly different to Keso, with just 1.5 g of fat per 100 g, of which 1.0 g are saturated fats. It also has a lower salt content than the Swedish version, just 0.2 g per 100 g. (Arla also produce a fat free version for the UK market.)

Why is the company called Arla?

There are two reasons why the company is called Arla. The first is because the name Arla derives from the same word as the English word "early" and is an archaic Swedish term for "early in the morning". The second reason is that the idea for the company was established at a farm called Stora Arla Gård.

A large European dairy cooperative

Arla is now a large global dairy company and co-operative run by European dairy farmers. Arla farmers work together to get the best possible price for their milk to secure their own futures and the futures of the next generation of farmers. Currently the ownerships is shared between about 12,600 farmers, of which about 3,400 are in Sweden, about 3,200 are in Denmark and 2,800 are in the UK.

The history of Arla

The first cooperative was establish in Sweden in 1881 at Stora Arla Gård in Västmanland under the name of Arla Mejeriförening (Arla Dairy Association). The name later changed to Mjölkcentralen (The Milk Centre) and then it changed again in 1975 to Arla and an "Arla" cow was adopted as a logo.

By 1999 Arla produced 65% of Sweden's milk. In 2000 Arla merged with a Danish company and subsequently with cooperatives in other countries across Europe. It is now the world's seventh largest dairy company in the world, but it is still a cooperative with a democratic structure.

The origin of Keso

Keso was developed as a result of a visit to the USA in 1945 by Gösta Winberg, a director of Mjölkcentralen. Whilst in America he learnt about American cottage cheese and decided to develop a similar product for the Swedish market. Keso was finally launched in Sweden in 1958 and has been popular ever since.

John Duxbury



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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder