Farmer-owned dairy co-op Arla has announced a £72m investment plan for its UK operation this year.
The move will see 10 sites across the country upgraded, with new technology and expanded and improved production capacity.
This is the latest announcement in the company’s Strategy 2020 growth plans, and is part of an investment of nearly £500m around the world by the dairy giant, which now operates in 120 countries.
Towards 2020, Arla expects 50% of its growth to come from Europe with the half coming from emerging markets outside Europe, where Arla’s strategic focus is on the Middle East and North Africa, China and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the USA.
The strategy aims to grow foodservice sales significantly by 2020. Consequently, around 18 million euros of this year’s investments will go into expanding and developing Arla’s production for foodservice customers.
This year, 10 of Arla’s 12 sites across the UK will receive investment. The UK is Arla’s biggest single market; its economic footprint in the UK is equivalent to 0.52% of the entire business economy and 0.33% of UK GDP.
Arla’s site in Aylesbury will see the investment of £33.6m, making it the production centre of Arla’s lactose-free products using milk from UK farmers in the south east and midlands.
It will also explore alternatives to plastic, already committing to using 100% recyclable plastic by 2020 and 50% recycled plastic in its plastic milk bottles.
The Lockerbie plant is being given a £5.5m upgrade, while the remaining £32.5m will be split across sites in Melton Mowbray, Llandyrnog, Malpas, Oakthorpe, Stourton, Settle, Oswestry and Trevarrian.
Arla Foods UK managing director Tomas Pietrangeli said: “While milk prices remain volatile and Brexit brings both uncertainty and opportunity, Arla farmers in the UK and across Europe are committed to continually investing in our UK business to maintain pace with the demand for nature’s original superfood, and the consumer choice it creates.”