Milk buyer and processor Arla Foods is planning to close one of its 12 UK dairy sites to consolidate production at its Aylesbury ‘superdairy’.
The business is consulting with employees over a proposal to close its fresh milk processing facility at the Hatfield Peverel dairy in Essex, following a review of the company’s processing requirements. Hatfield Peverel processes fresh milk for the Arla Cravendale and Arla Big Milk brands plus own-label fresh and organic milk for major retailers.
The proposal could see the plant closed by the end of July, with the loss or relocation of up to 200 jobs. The majority of the Hatfield Peverel volume would be transferred to the Aylesbury site, opened in 2014, which now has the ability to process one billion litres a year. Smaller volumes of milk could be delivered to other Arla fresh milk dairies, depending on customer requirements. Logistics would be outsourced to Bidvest Logistics.
Production at Aylesbury has been steadily ramped up since the £150 million plant was first commissioned. The company says it is the world’s largest dairy operation of its kind, built to support Arla’s long-term strategy to increase the volume of milk being processed in the UK and support growth plans in its largest country market.
“As a farmer-owned dairy company, our mission is to return the highest value for our farmers’ milk, creating opportunities for growth,” says Dan Kolding, senior vice president, supply chain at Arla Foods UK. “The development of Aylesbury is helping us to deliver this vision in the UK, as the dairy approaches capacity.”