Scottish milk buyer Graham’s has unveiled detailed plans for a £20m processing, research and training centre in Stirling.
The Hill of Drip site will create 350m litres of capacity for liquid milk, cream, cheese and spreads.
The 150,000sq ft facility will also provide space for training, research, administration, storage and distribution.
It could create 400 new jobs and 50 apprenticeships, almost doubling Graham’s current staff.
The firm will submit a full planning application in June and, once the new site is finished, the existing Airthrie Kerse dairy will focus on butter and ice cream.
Managing director Robert Graham said the investment would speed up research and production of added-value dairy products.
“The time for this investment is now, to protect the industry against market volatility,” he said.
“It is a hugely exciting time to run a business in Scotland. There is so much potential in the dairy industry.”
Graham’s, which turned over £85m in 2014, has said it will not borrow to finance the new venture.
But Mr Graham has warned the £20m investment depends on Stirling Council approving a separate 600-home housing development.
He said his company would have to consider investing in other parts of Scotland if the housing plans did not go through.
Details on the new dairy were welcomed by Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, who last week launched a dairy action plan to revitalise the industry.
“This is a real vote of confidence in the future of the Scottish dairy sector and I’ve no doubt this exciting project will help Graham’s The Family Dairy cement its reputation as one of our leading dairy companies and brands.”