Austrian dairy giant Nom has started production at its £40m Shropshire facility this week as it strives to become a major player in UK own-label yoghurt.

Nom, which supplies own-label yoghurt and yoghurt drinks to the major multiples, would provide an alternative to the three billion yoghurt pots and bottles currently imported, said Nom UK MD David Potts.

The timing of the opening was particularly good given the weakness of the pound, he added.

“Retailers have been looking for another major player to come into the marketplace to compete with current suppliers to them,” Potts said.

Despite the economic difficulties faced in the current climate, Nom aimed to employ 125 people at the factory by mid-2009.

Nom’s local milk arrangement with Dairy Farmers of Britain would benefit retailers and the local economy, added Potts.