Dairy producer co-op Milk Link has made its first significant move into the processing market with the acquisition of Essex based dairy Tanner Foods. The UK's second largest processor of UHT milk, Tanner will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Milk Link. The deal takes Milk Link into processing, marketing and product development as well as securing a long-term market for up to 120m litres of Milk Link members' milk each year. Further processing acquisitions were likely, said a spokesman. "This deal is consistent with Don Curry's emphasis on producers taking more control over the supply chain by getting into processing." The deal also creates opportunities to inject new life into the long-life milk market by developing new products, he added. "UHT is crying out for some innovation, especially in the area of milk based products aimed at children." Milk Link's members account for about 10% of the United Kingdom's total milk production. {{NEWS }}