German dairy business Müller is defying worries about Brexit’s impact by revealing plans for £100m of investment in its UK business. By: Alan Tovey
Over the next three years the family-owned company will plough the money into new and current yogurt and dessert products, upgrading existing facilities and increasing its marketing budget in Britain.
The plan will deliver a boost to the country’s under-pressure dairy farmers, with the company saying the new products – sold under the Müller brand as well as private label goods – will be made from milk produced by British farmers.
Industry in the Midlands will be the focus of the investment with the company saying its three Shropshire plants will be upgraded, with the Telford site doubling in size.
“This unprecedented level of investment will ensure that we can offer an increasing portfolio of yogurt and desserts products made in Britain with milk from British farmers, which meet the needs of our customers,” said Bergen Merey, Müller managing director.
“Our approach in the UK within the yogurt, desserts, milk and ingredients sectors is to grow our capabilities so that we can reduce the UK’s dependence on imported dairy products, and build a vibrant future for the British dairy industry.”
Part of the investment plan includes launching new products, along with working with US food giant Mondelez to develop its range of Cadbury products, as Müller tries to increase the level of demand in the UK from the current 208m products it sells here a year.
The company – which has a sponsorship deal with British Athletics – last made a major move in the UK in 2015 when it bought Dairy Crest’s dairy operations in an £80m deal.
The agreement saw Müller take on loss-making dairies and 3,000 milk floats in an acquisition that followed a lengthy Competition and Markets Authority inquiry.
Concerns were raised by the fact the deal would leave the UK dairy market dominated by three major players: Müller, Denmark’s Arla, and the First Milk farmers’ co-operative.
To ease the watchdog’s concerns, Müller offered to process milk for a smaller rival and supply supermarkets in the South West of England, giving them a choice of where they bought their milk from.