Müller Milk & Ingredients has unveiled proposals that it said would help secure ‘a sustainable and vibrant future’ for the business.
The company is proposing to invest £60 million in upgrading the capabilities and operational efficiencies of its UK processing facilities at Severnside, Gloucestershire and Foston, Lincolnshire, with further enhancements to dairies in Droitwich, Manchester and Bridgwater. The project will create up to 180 new jobs.
The investment is part of a total of more than £100 million which will be spent by Müller in the UK across its Müller Milk & Ingredients and Müller Yogurt & Desserts businesses in the next 18 months to improve operational, innovation and marketing capabilities.
Müller has already confirmed a major investment at its dairy at Bellshill in Scotland and reversed the decision taken by Dairy Crest prior to the sale of its dairies to Müller to close a dairy at Hanworth in South West London, securing 170 jobs at the site.
The proposals follow the acquisition of Dairy Crest’s dairy operations in December 2015, and are part of Müller Milk & Ingredients’ plan to put in place a modern and efficient fresh milk and ingredients processing and distribution business with national coverage, which meets the needs of its customers across the country.
Andrew McInnes, managing director of Müller Milk & Ingredients, said: “When we acquired Dairy Crest’s fresh milk dairy and distribution operations just under a year ago, we made it clear that change would be required to secure a better and more vibrant future for the dairy sector in Britain. We have taken time to assess the best way forward and to model and design a national processing and logistics network which fully meets the needs of our customers throughout the country now and in the future.
“We are pleased to confirm proposals to invest in the capabilities of our dairies at Severnside, Foston, Droitwich, Manchester and Bridgwater having already confirmed plans to upgrade our dairy at Bellshill. By improving operational efficiencies and capabilities at these sites, we can unlock new innovation to transform the milk and ingredients sector, benefitting our consumers, customers, colleagues and farmers.
“Regrettably, it is clear that the dairy at Chadwell Heath [in northeast London] is no longer economically viable. It requires complete overhaul and modernisation and in an industry which has struggled for many years with excess and inefficient processing capacity, we cannot justify committing the level of investment which would be required to bring this site to an acceptable and sustainable level of performance.
“Our proposal is to maintain and develop our distribution footprint in the south east of England, but to wind down processing operations at Chadwell Heath over an 18 month period. We will enter the consultation with an open mind and a determination to listen to our colleagues and rigorously assess the situation in Chadwell Heath before arriving at a decision.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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