60-second interview: Dairy UK chairman Robert Wiseman

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk, Dairy, Dairy uk, Eu

Wiseman: Dairy consumption is up
Wiseman: Dairy consumption is up
FoodManufacture.co.uk catches up with Robert Wiseman following his election as chairman of Dairy UK.


On proposals in the EU Food Information Regulation to stop producers using the word ‘fresh’ on milk with a use-by date of more than seven days:

“I have spent a lifetime working in an industry investing in more and more modern, efficient processing facilities precisely so we could give fresh milk a shelf-life of nine or more days, and now they are talking about stopping us using the word ‘fresh’ on milk with a use-by date of more than seven days. It’s crazy.”

On the prospect of nutrient profiling​ in the EU health claims Regulation (which would prevent firms making health claims on products high in fat, salt or sugar):

“The problem with nutrient profiling is that it focuses on perceived negatives, and not on positive nutrition as well, which misleads consumers.

“But it’s also a practical issue. They have been talking about this since 2007 and they still haven’t defined the profiles. And what’s vital is that we come to an end conclusion and something is finalised one way or another.”

On proposals by the European Commission’s High Level Group​ to enhance the use of written contracts in the dairy supply chain and increase the collective bargaining power of dairy producers to negotiate jointly with customers.

“In principle, we want a free market with minimal state intervention, but to make written contracts mandatory is a step too far. We’d also oppose moves to exempt producer organisations from competition legislation.”

On proposals to extend country-of-origin-labelling (COOL)​ to single ingredient dairy products:

“It makes sense. The important thing is not to mislead consumers.”

On the restructuring​ of the Food Standards Agency:

“The switch​ [of the FSA’s nutrition responsibilities] to the Department of Health is a good thing. There should be proper ministerial responsibility​ for this and it makes sense to keep it all under one roof.”

On capacity in the UK dairy processing sector:

“There has been a lot of investment in state-of-the-art facilities in the UK dairy industry over the last few years and there has also been a lot of rationalisation. Both of these things must continue. However, manufacturers must have the confidence to invest.”

On the impact on manufacturers of the recent heavy discounting on dairy products in the supermarkets:

“All I will say is that it is a very competitive marketplace,​ but it’s really up to the retailers to comment on this…”

On the state of the industry:

“My message is that I have total confidence in dairy, consumption is up and the industry has really come together through campaigns such as Make Mine Milk​ to encourage new consumers to get into the market.”

Related topics: People & Skills, Dairy

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