Wiseman brushes off talk of a second ‘super dairy’

By Anne Bruce and Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wiseman

Robert Wiseman's Bridgwater site can now handle 500m litres a year
Robert Wiseman's Bridgwater site can now handle 500m litres a year
Robert Wiseman Dairies has ruled out any plans to build a second ‘super dairy’ in the short term

The firm, which now produces 500m litres-a-year from its new Bridgwater dairy in Somerset, was the subject of City speculation​ last May that it planned to build another super dairy in southern England, with one analyst suggesting that Wiseman could be operating a new 250-500m litre a year site by 2015.

However, a Wiseman spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that Wiseman had "ways to flex capacity at its existing dairies", ​with a network stretching from Aberdeen to Somerset that allows it to reach to every postcode in Britain.

Flex capacity at existing dairies

He said: “We are the only UK dairy which can reach every British postcode. We are quite confident that we do have plenty of headroom to grow from our existing network...We are alright and have room to grow. Of course, we could never rule out the possibility of looking at building new capacity at some point in the future.”

Meanwhile, Wiseman will be closing a dairy in Okehampton later this month, following the scaling-up of the nearby Bridgewater site. It will also close a distribution centre in Cupar, Fife. Up to 67 jobs are expected to go at each site.

The spokesman said: “We are mindful of our operational needs and our customer needs and we won’t be disclosing any exact dates for closure. We will run the facilities as they are required.”

Arla's London 'super dairy'

Separately, rival Arla's proposed 1bn-litre 'super dairy' in Aylesbury is still on track, a company spokeswoman said, with a planning application for the site (initially pencilled-in for an Autumn 2012 opening) not yet submitted.

One analyst told FoodManufacture.co.uk​ that the project was subject to delays, but the spokeswoman denied this: "We're in the process of dealing with residents' issues that have been raised,"​ she said. "So far as we're concerned we're still on track to meet the initial operational target that's been set.​"

City analysts have predicted that Arla’s three plants in Ashby, Hatfield Peverel and Oakthorpe may close when the new dairy comes online, which would maintain current capacity levels.

Related topics: Dairy

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