Muller to invest £100m in UK dairy processing arm

Dairy processing company Müller has announced plans to invest £100m in new products made from milk produced by British farmers.

The company said the move was part of a drive to reduce the UK’s dependence on imported products and to “build a vibrant future for the British dairy industry”. 

The £100m will be used to fund a three-year programme of development, the manufacture and marketing of a new generation of yoghurt and desserts, a Müller statement said.

See also: China – what are the dairy opportunities for UK producers?

Within that plan it aims to upgrade capacity and capabilities at its three sites in Shropshire, including doubling the size of the Telford facility by 2020.

Plans for its yogurt and desserts business are guided by market research which identified a potential growth of £233m in this category by 2020.

“This unprecedented level of investment will ensure we can offer an increasing portfolio of great yogurt and desserts products made in Britain with milk from British farmers, which meet the needs of our customers,” said Müller director Bergen Merey.

“Muller’s approach in the UK within the yogurt and desserts and milk and ingredients sectors, is to grow our capabilities so we can reduce the UK’s dependence on imported dairy products, and build a vibrant future for the British dairy industry.”

With Brexit looming, the move is seen as strategic. The announcement comes just one week after the AHDB highlighted a critical need for more processing capacity in the UK.

The AHDB report Horizon: Our prospects in the global marketplace said there were opportunities after Brexit to displace imported dairy products with home-produced milk and develop an export market.

To achieve that goal the AHDB listed a number of factors that needed to be in place in readiness for Brexit. These chime with the Muller investment.

Factors needed by countries targeting export success – AHDB

  • Economies of scale in production, processing and logistics
  • Investment in processing technology in both the home market but also overseas target markets
  • Adding value to the final product through further processing
  • Uniform and consistent product quality
  • High food safety standards
  • Understanding the specific market needs and tailoring the offering to the market
  • A long-term focus on the customer and commitment to the market

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