02 April 1998
Farmers to pick up the tab for
Milk Marque expansion

MILK MARQUE wants to expand into cheese and butter manufacturing to offset declining demand for raw milk. But chairman Andrew Dare admitted dairy farmers could have to fund the further investment.

The move follows the farmer-owned distribution co-operatives recent controversial purchase of a small cheese plant in Wales.

Dare said further acquisitions and investments were planned which could reach £100 million by the year 2000.

Milk prices have dropped from 27ppl two years ago to 19ppl, devastating the incomes of dairy farmers. Dare blamed lack of investment by the dairy industry for keeping demand at a low level.

Big dairy combines will vigorously oppose the strategy. They have complained to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) about the operation of Milk Marques auction, citing a lack of transparency. This issue has been referred to the Monopolies Commission which is due to report this autumn.

  • Milk Marque faces monopolies inquiry, FWi, 27 January – Click here
  • The Times 02/04/98 page 27, page 29 (Commentary)