Speaking at the opening of the plant today (December 6), Müller said the group was coming of age in the UK and Ireland. “It is almost 21 years since our initial investment in the yogurt factory here in Market Drayton and the introduction to the UK of Müller Corner,” he said.
“While there is a lot to do, I feel that we are now coming of age in the UK and Ireland. By investing in new products and highly efficient manufacturing facilities, we aim to offer customers the means by which their consumers can access great dairy products made in Britain with milk produced by British dairy farmers.”
The firm plans to extend the range of products made at the plant. It will first make 25kg and 10kg blocks of salted, unsalted and lactic butter for food manufacturers before installing a packet butter operation. This will produce 250g products for the retail and foodservice sectors from early next summer.
Up to 100 new roles will be created at the new plant by the end of this year, a spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk in January.
Ronald Kers, chief executive of Müller UK & Ireland group, said the plant would help to reduce the nation’s reliance on dairy imports. Britain was reliant on more than £2bn of dairy products sourced from continental Europe and Ireland – despite being one of the world’s great milk producing nations. “This represents a major opportunity for well-invested dairy companies in the UK and for dairy farmers in Britain,” he added.
“We know that there is domestic and international demand for great British butter produced with cream from Red Tractor Farm Assured British milk and this new facility will allow us to add value and satisfy this demand.”
Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire and environment secretary, said import substitution was a key element of the government’s strategy. Nearly a quarter (24%) of the food eaten in the UK could be produced here, he added.
“Müller provides a spectacular example of both adding value and growing its business.”
The plant was excellent news for local dairy farmers and “a great credit to the skilled Market Drayton workforce who have played such a key role in this national success story”, he said.
Recent Müller Group acquisitions in the UK include fresh milk processor Wiseman Dairies, a chilled desserts facility in Minsterley and Nom UK’s yogurt manufacturing facility in Telford.
After acquiring Nom Dairy, Kers said: “We want to be the biggest and best dairy company in the UK.”