Milk Link closes Essex milk factory

MILK LINK is to cease milk processing at its Tanner Foods plant in Sible Hedingham, Essex, in a move the co-operative says will save money.

Tanner’s long life milk production will move to the Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and Crediton, Devon, factories, which have been expanded to deal with the extra capacity.

Milk Link members should not be affected because there are no direct deliveries to the factory, which is supplied with milk trucked from the processor’s other sites in the West Country and Scotland.

Closure will be in two phases, with the bulk of production ceasing on August 12 with the loss of 52 jobs. Remaining business will carry on with 18 employees until the end of March 2006.

Chief executive, Barry Nicholls, said: “The decision to rationalise and re-focus our long life milk operations will result in the more efficient utilisation of our manufacturing assets, and in the longer-term increase the profitability of the business. 

“We will continue to be the UK’s largest producer of long life milk, a sector we are committed to growing through an emphasis on product innovation, category management and marketing support.”

A spokesman added: “It is good news for the business in the long term, and good news for members. Cost savings will be passed back to farmers in the form of a stronger business.”

Milk Link reported that sales of its long life milk rose 10% in the 2004/05 financial year, with turnover from the business up 8%.

It supplies more than half the UK’s long life milk.