Muller driver

Source: Müller UK & Ireland 

A £25.8m operating profit in 2021 swung to a £5.9m operating loss in the year to 31 December 2022, its latests accounts have shown

Müller UK & Ireland slumped to a £6m loss in 2022 as it battled the impact of the cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures.

A £25.8m operating profit in 2021 swung to a £5.9m operating loss in the year to 31 December 2022, according to latest accounts filed by the dairy giant at Companies House.

Müller – which sold its loss-making Milk & More doorstep delivery service to Freshways Group just before Christmas for a nominal sum – said profitability in 2022 had been adversely affected by rising prices, particularly within the Müller Yogurt & Desserts division and its branded yoghurt portfolio.

The processor’s Müller Milk & Ingredients division also experienced its own inflationary pressures, the accounts revealed.

As a result, revenues rose significantly during the accounting period, by 17% to £2.3bn, but cost of sales rose by an even higher percentage, up 29.7% to £1.9bn.

Inflation had been driven by soaring farmgate milk prices, which were in turn caused by tight supply and record-high input costs such as energy and animal feed.

Müller was forced to “recover margins as quickly as possible” via price hikes, but this drove “significant short-term volume losses”, particularly in its yoghurt business.

However, it stressed MMI had managed to avoid the same fate when it came to the sale of milk, with the business able to deliver strong volumes and “a steady profit” in 2022, against the backdrop of a continuation of “extremely high” service levels that demonstrated the “exceptional resilience and strength of the MMI model and supply chain”.

And despite these challenges, Müller stressed the overall health of the business was positive, with both divisions making strong progress in 2023, driven by a major brand refresh across yoghurt, a major TV campaign and a first move into planted yoghurt alternatives, in addition to growth in milk via long-life NPD