Arla Foods_Aylesbury dairy

Britain’s biggest dairy company has unveiled investments in four of its sites including Lockerbie, Stourton, Aylesbury and Westbury

Arla has pledged a further multi-million pound injection of cash into its UK manufacturing estate, taking its total investment in factory upgrades to £300m this year.

Announced ahead of today’s UK Farm to Fork Summit at No10 Downing Street, the dairy co-op said it would make new investments at four key sites: Lockerbie, Stourton, Aylesbury and Westbury.

Arla said the money would enable it to update and expand its dairies and creameries and create more opportunities for British milk and cheese production.

It follows the announcement of a £179m investment at its Taw Valley site in Devon in March, in a move that would help it become a “global mozzarella player”.

Broken down per site, Arla is investing £65m at its Stourton facility to fund upgrades that will expand its capabilities in extended shelf life milk, particularly in its Cravendale and B.O.B brands, as well as introducing a capability to supply milk in cardboard cartons.

A £34m investment into Lockerbie Creamery will enable it to continue producing cheddar with new technology and upgrades will allow the site to expand and grow over the coming years. Some £15m at Westbury will go towards upgrading its effluent treatment plant and upgrading its powder dryer. 

Arla’s Aylesbury factory, meanwhile, will receive £8m for additional automated box packing capabilities, allowing customers to have greater flexibility with packaging formats.

The dairy giant currently operates nine production sites across the UK.

Arla invests £179m to turn Taw Valley Creamery into ‘global mozzarella player’

“What this [investment] means is that our farmer owners are investing in UK food security – as they are not only producing our milk, but they are backing this investment in our production sites,” said Bas Padberg, managing director of Arla Foods UK.

“On the day of the Farm to Fork Summit we are delighted to set out plans for continued vital investment in our business worth tens of millions of pounds, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of food production and keeping the nation’s favourite dairy products on our supermarket shelves.”

Arla’s March pledge of £179m for Taw Valley represented the dairy co-op’s largest-ever single investment in the UK, and will see it undertake a significant upgrade at the creamery and create up to 100 skilled new jobs – adding to the 145 staff already working at the site. 

This, coupled with the four additional factory upgrade plans announced today demonstrated “we are wholly committed to UK manufacturing to ensure we continue to produce the nutritious dairy products that are a staple in millions of fridges across the country”, said Fran Ball, Arla VP for production.

“The investments will allow us to make significant upgrades across our portfolio, making our facilities fit for the future of dairy production here in the UK.”

“We must also ensure we have a robust food supply chain for the UK market – and this starts with ensuring we can continue to return a fair price back to our farmer owners,” said Padberg.

“As one of the biggest food companies in the UK, it is only natural that we look for further opportunities to grow, which includes strengthening our export opportunities.”