Speaking at the Dairy UK Annual Dinner in London, Ash Amirahmadi, Dairy UK vice-chair and managing director of international dairy giant Arla Foods, said: “One thing we can all agree on is that trade policy is key to the success of the sector going forward.
“We stand ready to work with our colleagues in Government to ensure the voice of both dairy and agriculture is reflected in trade and tariff discussions.”
He also claimed a Dairy UK impact assessment demonstrated a potential massive shock to raw milk prices if the UK adopted WTO Most Favoured Nation tariff rates in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
According to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data, the UK chalked up £675.4m in cheese exports in 2018.
Amirahmadi outlined the dairy industry’s positive track record on reducing its environmental impact. Over the past decade the industry had achieved an 18% improvement in both energy and water efficiency and had recovered or recycled 93% of all factory produced waste, he said.
He highlighted plans to work with industry group Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to tackle consumer milk waste and Dairy UK’s commitment to the UK Plastics Pact, addressing environmentally-friendly packaging initiatives.
Amirahmadi called on the industry to unite and fight the misinformation on dairy from detractors. He highlighted that dairy foods continued to be found in 96% of fridges in the UK despite reports than consumers were turning away from the category. “If we don’t inspire our consumers to continue to love our products, nobody will. We all have a role to play in telling the dairy story.”