First Milk on track, says chairman

First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe believes the company is on track following the new board’s completion of its first job of “mucking out the stable”.

But, while he took pride in a cost-cutting exercise and boasted of investments in innovation during the company’s annual conference yesterday (5 October), he made no promises of an early increase in the price to First Milk’s producers, who are at the bottom of the milk price league table.

“I’ve no idea when we’ll do that,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have chosen to start the business from where we were a year ago. We need to improve the business to improve terms to producers.”

Many dairy farmers had stood up to criticise the high margins the supermarkets took from the dairy business, but Mr Mustoe said later that retailers simply had a job to do.

“They’re not ogres. They’re just ruthless and efficient,” he said.