Müller is moving into butter production in the UK, with the opening of the country’s largest butter plant.

The company will invest £17m in the new plant, which will be built in Market Drayton and is expected to be commissioned this autumn. The plant will have the capacity to handle all of the 90,000 tonnes of the cream produced by the Müller Wiseman group in the UK and will produce up to 45,000 tonnes of butter.

The news was announced by Müller UK & Ireland CEO Ronald Kers at the Semex dairy industry conference in Glasgow today. He also said there would be a farmer recruitment drive to secure additional milk volumes.

It comes almost exactly a year after Müller acquired liquid milk specialist Robert Wiseman Dairies, which has since rebranded as Müller Wiseman. A move into butter is a logical complement to Müller’s Wiseman acquisition, as it will allow the company to use – and add value to – the cream that is produced as a by-product of liquid milk production in-house.

Branching out into butter moves Müller’s UK operations, which have traditionally focused on just yoghurt, closer to the model it follows in its home country of Germany, where its large-scale factory in Leppersdorf produces a wide range of dairy products.

In an exclusive interview for The Grocer’s Dairymen supplement last September, Kers revealed Müller would be looking to implement aspects of the Leppersdorf model in the UK.