Arla Foods is to leverage its recently acquired share in Westbury Dairies to make all its UK supermarket own-label butter at the Wiltshire site.

The dairy giant, which bought a minority share in Westbury two months ago from joint owners First Milk and Milk Link, said the new production line would create 60 jobs.

However, subject to consultation, around 18 jobs could be lost at Arla’s Settle plant in North Yorkshire, where some own-label butter production currently takes place.

A line at Arla’s Götene plant in Sweden is also under threat as a result of the switch, while Arla’s Varde site in Denmark could close completely.

Arla claimed consolidating the production to one site from August next year would significantly reduce food miles and transport costs.

“Today’s announcement is strategically important for Arla by enhancing our environmental credentials in line with our carbon reduction strategy and further reinforces our commitment to the UK,” said Peter Lauritzen, chief executive of Arla Foods UK.

“The initiative is also in line with our commitment to develop the potential of the Westbury facility and secure its long-term future.”

Arla, First Milk and Milk Link will all continue to use the skimmed milk powder production capacity at Westbury, while Milk Link’s butter production at its Lockerbie Creamerie in Scotland will be unaffected.

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