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3 minute read - 15th May 2024

Arla Foods to invest over £300m at UK production sites

Arla Foods has pledged to invest more than £300m across five of its UK production sites. Following on from previously announced plans to invest £179m at its Taw Valley site, Arla Foods will now also update and expand four more of its dairies and creameries at Lockerbie, Stourton, Aylesbury and Westbury.

The cooperative, owned by thousands of European dairy farmers, including around 2,000 in the UK, currently operates nine production sites across the country making a range of milk, butter, cheese and other dairy staples. The investments will see significant upgrades to secure the future of its sites whilst adding the most value possible to the milk from its farmer owners. In Taw Valley, the investment will allow the business to capitalise on the potential for export around the world.

Arla says the investments illustrate the cooperative’s long-term commitment to producing cheddar at the Lockerbie Creamery (£34m upgrade project). New technology and significant upgrades will be implemented to allow the site to expand and grow over the coming years.

At Stourton (£65m investment), the upgrades will expand Arla’s capabilities in extended shelf life (ESL) milk, particularly the Cravendale® and BoB® brands, as well as introduce a capability to supply milk in cardboard cartons. ESL is a filtered milk which stays fresher for longer, helping shoppers to reduce their food waste. As a result of the investment, the site will produce enough additional milk to fill the equivalent of 560 million bowls of cereal.

Arla Foods is to invest more than £300m across five UK production sites / Picture: Arla Foods

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Aylesbury (£8m investment), which is the UK’s biggest fresh milk site producing more than 1 million bottles of milk daily, will get additional automated box packing capabilities, allowing customers to have greater flexibility with packaging formats.

The announcement comes following the news in March that Arla will invest £179m in state-of-the-art technology at its Taw Valley creamery, creating 100 new jobs and enabling the business to export mozzarella that can be used for the likes of pizza toppings around the world.

Further export opportunities will be explored following the new investment at Westbury (£15m upgrade) which will see milk turned into powder for consumption in countries across the globe. Upgrades will be made to the effluent treatment plant and powder dryer.

Bas Padberg, managing director of Arla Foods UK, said: “What this means is that our farmer owners are investing in UK food security – as they are not only producing our milk, but they are backing this investment in our production sites. Dairy plays a significant role in the UK economy, with sales of dairy products exceeding £8bn. On the day of the Farm to Fork Summit we are delighted to set out plans for continued vital investment in our business worth tens of millions of pounds, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of food production and keeping the nation’s favourite dairy products on our supermarket shelves.

“We must also ensure we have a robust food supply chain for the UK market – and this starts with ensuring we can continue to return a fair price back to our farmer owners. As one of the biggest food companies in the UK, it is only natural that we look for further opportunities to grow, which includes strengthening our export opportunities.”

Fran Ball, vice president for production at Arla Foods, added: “We are wholly committed to UK manufacturing to ensure we continue to produce the nutritious dairy products that are a staple in millions of fridges across the country. The investments will allow us to make significant upgrades across our portfolio, making our facilities fit for the future of dairy production here in the UK.”

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