That’s according to Smiddy, the newly appointed md of the business, which Arla sold in May. “We’re making a £2M investment in ESL,” he told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “We’re running up to capacity with existing equipment.”
ESL milk commonly has a 40–90 day shelf-life, which can be achieved using ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment or other methods.
In stressing the growth potential of the flavoured milk market, Smiddy echoed Tetra Pak’s claims in the flavoured milk report it published in June. He said it was an area of considerable interest to Devon–based Crediton, particularly combined with protein fortification.
“Walk into the supermarkets and you can see it [flavoured milk] is a category that’s growing strongly. We think there’s a lot more interest in protein drinks. You need to make them more palatable to consumers.”
Chocolate and strawberry were the most popular flavours for milk, he claimed. “Chocolate is the flavour that is the strongest-selling, but we have been looking at other chocolate variants, such as better quality Belgian chocolate.”
Crediton was extending its presence in ESL flavoured milk, he said. “We now have listings for ESL flavoured milk in Morrisons and we’re in discussions with a number of other retailers. We have seen flavoured milk sales doing very well over the past four to six weeks.”
Former Milk Link flavoured milk brand Moo, now part of Crediton’s portfolio, was growing quickly, albeit from a relatively small base, said Smiddy.
Following its relaunch in Morrisons in chocolate, strawberry and chocolate fudge cake flavours, he expected Moo to continue to do well, gaining more retail listings.
Arla is supplying milk to Crediton in the short term, but in the long term, Smiddy said he was confident Crediton, which can process 200M litres annually, could secure sufficient direct supply to achieve its objectives.
“We have a job to do in terms of securing our own milk supply in the long term, but we are pretty confident we will get the supply we need for this site.”
In addition, he said he aimed to grow its cream sales in all markets, but particularly the foodservice arena.
The European Commission required Arla to sell Crediton Dairy after its October 2012 merger with Milk Link in order to satisfy competition regulations.