The 14,000m2 centre, located west of Craigforth, opposite Stirling’s Agricultural Centre, would feature production lines for milk, cream, cheese and spreadable butter, Graham’s Dairy confirmed. The dedicated research and training centre would allow for new product development, it said.
The facility had the potential to bring an additional £20M a year to the Stirling economy, it claimed. It would add to Graham’s current dairy at Airthrey Kerse in Bridge of Allan, its processing plant in Nairn and depots throughout Scotland.
Capital investment in the centre was conditional on Stirling Council granting planning permission for the Airthrey Kerse facility, Graham’s Dairy md Robert Graham said.
Once built, the dairy at Airthrey Kerse would concentrate on butter and ice cream and remain the Graham’s family home, said the company.
Features of the new dairy site
- production lines for milk, cream, cheese, and spreadables
- future proofing for new product launches and food tourism
- training facility
- research and development
- offices and administration
- storage and distribution
- combined heat and power (biogas) renewables system
- effluent treatment plan
- plastic blow moulding plant
It claimed the project would create 400 jobs across all sectors including processing, research, design, logistics, marketing, administration and management. It would also offer 50 apprenticeships for Stirling and a local employment strategy and create the capacity for 350M litres of milk a year.
It would make Stirling a major hub for the food and drink sector and support the achievement of the Scottish Dairy Review – ‘Ambition 2025’, said Graham’s Dairy.
A full planning application would be lodged with Stirling Council in June 2015 following a period of public consultation, Graham’s Dairy said.
The plans responded to the huge potential in Scotland to produce and market premium Scottish dairy products in 2015, the Year of Food & Drink, the firm said.
It was closely aligned with Stirling Council’s new economic strategy, with its focus upon creating a climate for investment in the creation of high quality jobs and opportunities for all, it added.
The Scottish Rural Affairs and Climate Change committee recommended in February 2015, that investment in the dairy sector was essential.
A focus on apprenticeships, training, career development product research, design, marketing, logistics and management would strengthen the industry and create a sustainable future, the committee claimed.
Launching the project, Robert Graham md of Graham’s The Family Dairy and grandson of the founder, said: “Far more can be done in Scotland to produce and market premium Scottish dairy products and as we have seen through our brands, there is huge potential to add value to milk through products such as cheese, cream, yogurt and, in particular, butter.
‘Strengthen the economy’
“Our research forecasts that by combining a new, modern dairy processing facility with a research and training centre that has strong links into the local education system and a proactive local recruitment policy, Graham’s can significantly strengthen the Stirling economy and place the city at the forefront of the Scottish food and drink sector.”
The site would boost the number of staff employed by Graham’s Dairy to 900, said Graham.
“It will enable us to accelerate research and production of added value dairy products across areas, which could include spreadables, organics, gluten free and nutritional ‘grab and go’ children products,” he added.
Commenting on the announcement, Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and environment in the Scottish government, called it “fantastic news for the dairy industry in Scotland and for the local economy”.