The £100m programme, dubbed Project Darwin, is designed to “to secure a vibrant and sustainable future for the business, benefiting consumers, customers, employees and farmers” and will cover all aspects of the business.
Patrick Müller, CEO of Müller Milk & Ingredients, explained the programme. “Fresh milk is loved by British families, with 96% of UK households having milk in their fridges,” he said. “But the market environment has changed significantly due to global dairy market volatility, decline in consumption and changes in retailing and we need to adapt and return to sustainable levels of profitability so that fresh milk can continue to be part of the fabric of British life.
“We have the best invested network in our industry and aim to be the leading fresh milk processor in the country for years to come. We’ve invested in unique and class-leading propositions in farm to fridge product quality and shelf-life. We have fully recyclable packaging, including securing 50% of Britain’s stocks of recycled HDPE for use in bottles, efficient dairies and innovative ways of working with farmers to help protect them from market volatility.”
Survival of the fittest
Although Müller said it was too early to detail specific changes in each division, the 12-month Project Darwin programme was already underway and covered manufacturing, logistics, products, procurement, people and customer relationships to “simplify the business, reduce cost and further improve customer focus and accountability”.
“Project Darwin is about adapting to the changing market environment, becoming a customer-centric, agile and simpler business.
“This transformation programme will inevitably require tough decisions and a great deal of change, but when Project Darwin succeeds, consumers, customers, employees and farmers will benefit, and we can again look forward to a vibrant and progressive future. We have already started the process by securing important new long-term strategic partnerships with customers, which will reinvigorate the sector.”
Owned by Unternehmensgruppe, Müller Milk & Ingredients currently employs 5,500 people and is Britain’s largest producer of branded and private-label fresh milk, cream, butter and ingredients products. It buys a quarter of all milk produced on British farms, from more than 1,650 farmers in Britain.