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New Crediton Dairy bosses pledge to back British

By Mike Stones , 24-May-2013
Last updated on 28-May-2013 at 10:11 GMT2013-05-28T10:11:57Z

Two former Milk Link executives who led the management buy-out of Crediton Dairy from Arla Foods have pledged to back British produce.

Former Milk Link bosses Neil Kennedy and Tim Smiddy issued the promise in a joint statement following the announcement of the sale of the milk drinks business yesterday (May 23) for an undisclosed sum.

Kennedy, former Milk Link chief executive and chairman of the new business, promised senior managers would prioritise British provenance and traceability.

“We will aim to be a highly professional and progressive business,” said Kennedy. “One focused on making great-tasting, high-quality products with demonstrable British provenance and traceability, complemented by customer service excellence, category insight and targeted NPD [new product development].”

‘Long-term relationships with suppliers’

The new business had both the scale and agility to respond to the needs of customers and consumers and one that has strong, long-term relationships with its suppliers and farmers, he added.

“The management team believe that Crediton Dairy is well positioned to play an important role in the fast-growing and dynamic milk drinks sector,” he concluded. 

Smiddy, former Milk Link group finance director and md of the business, said the business had strong growth potential based upon its self-contained, well-invested manufacturing facility and growing customer base.

It also benefited from an established range of products and brands and a skilled and committed workforce, he claimed.

“Ideally located in one of the country’s largest milk fields, the business will benefit from a milk supply agreement with Arla and in the longer term we will seek to recruit our own dedicated group of farmers.”

Functional milk business

The business would focus on growing its retail and foodservice customer label British long-life, flavoured and functional milk business. 

The management team also promised to build upon the success of Moo, its brand of long life milk, functional branded milks – such as Flora pro.activ – flavoured milk brands – such as Mars Family Refuel chocolate milk made under a licence from Mars – and its Dairy Pride long-life milk and cream foodservice brand.

The sale of Crediton was a condition required by the European Commission in giving approval for the merger of dairy co-operative Milk Link and Arla Foods, Crediton’s former owner, in October 2012.

Financed by Lloyds Banking Group, the acquisition is dependent upon consultation with employees regarding TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations and final European Commission approval. Both approvals are expected by the end of next month.

Crediton Dairy’s senior management team will also include: Nick Bartlett, head of sales and marketing; Sean Browne, site manager; and Karyn Coombes, head of finance.

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