Dairy UK is set to restructure its operations by integrating the Dairy Council and the British Cheese Board.
The announcement came at Wednesday’s annual Dairy UK dinner in London as chairman Paul Vernon announced the industry body would shift its strategy to focus on the promotion of British dairy products in the UK and abroad.
Key priorities for the trade association are set to include the promotion and research into health benefits of dairy foods, and “streamlining and simplifying” the work of the Dairy Council to reduce overlap. It will also increase its promotion of British cheese, the industry’s work on the environment and commitment to continuous improvement.
The body is also gearing up to expand, taking on more staff and increasing its communications capabilities following the success of its spoof public service announcement campaign aiming to “remind millennials why they fell in love with dairy”.
Brexit is set to feature prominently on the agenda, with Dairy UK lobbying to secure a progressive post-EU trading environment.
“As an industry we can deal with what is to come and make a success of it - but only if we know what form Brexit might take,” said Vernon.
“Knowing what transition looks like is now key and we urge those in power to give us as much clarity as possible. A post-Brexit agricultural policy must help the industry progress and not hold it back. We need to ensure our dairy farmers are not disadvantaged and that we can continue to maintain strong relationships with processors to promote dairy in the UK and internationally.”
Dairy UK would work with government to ensure it understands the implications of proposed regulation of raw milk contracts, he added, warning that the proposed directives could lead to greater instability and volatility for farmers and processors.
The body has further set its sights on ensuring milk-based drinks remain exempt from the sugar levy in spite of calls from the likes of Jamie Oliver and George Osborne to include dairy drinks in the tax.
“We will pursue this new mission through being a strong and influential processor-led organisation with partnerships with farmers and other stakeholders along the supply chain,” added Vernon.
“The changes we are making to the organisation are about delivering a stronger and more focused Dairy UK and making us ever more effective and relevant.”