Saturday, May 18, 2024

Arla Foods pledges more than £300m to five UK sites

Arla Foods has given a major boost to UK manufacturing and the future of British dairy by pledging to invest tens of millions in its production sites. From Scotland to the West Country, new investments at four of Arla’s sites bring its total UK investment commitments in 2024 to over £300 million.

In addition to previously announced plans for its Taw Valley site, Arla Foods will update and expand its dairies and creameries at Lockerbie, Stourton, Aylesbury and Westbury as it looks to create more opportunities for British milk and cheese production.

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.

Bas Padberg, Managing Director of Arla Foods UK, says: “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.”

Fran Ball, vice president for production at Arla Foods, says: “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.”

Arla Foods UK board director, and Arla farmer, Arthur Fearnall, says: “We are incredibly proud of today’s announcement, which helps to futureproof the production of British dairy. We’re excited to see how the plans across our sites progress over the coming years, as we continue to work together to ensure all Arla farmer owners receive the best price for their milk.”

The investments illustrate the cooperative’s long-term commitment to producing cheddar at the Lockerbie Creamery and to continuing to produce award-winning cheese. New technology and significant upgrades will be implemented to allow the site to expand and grow over the coming years.

At Arla’s site in Stourton, 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.

Aylesbury, 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 announcements come 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 after today’s announcement thanks to a new investment at Westbury which will see milk turned into powder for consumption in countries across the globe.

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