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Müller to drive down plastic use by acquiring milk packaging capabilities

Press Release   •   Mar 01, 2018 09:51 GMT

Müller, Britain’s biggest producer of fresh milk, butter, cream, yogurt and desserts, has confirmed its intention to acquire the capability to manufacture its own fresh milk packaging in the UK.

The multi million pound move will give the business the means to further accelerate reduction in the use of plastic and increase the use of recycled plastic in its bottles to its target of 50% by 2020. Plastic bottles used for Müller’s branded and private label fresh milk products are already 100% recyclable.

Müller will also use its newly acquired assets to pursue innovative new packaging solutions, working in partnership with its customers.

Acquisitions of bottle manufacturing plants owned by Nampak adjacent to Müller’s dairies at Bellshill and Manchester have already concluded and Müller is in advanced negotiations to purchase Nampak’s bottle manufacturing assets adjacent to its Foston and Severnside dairies with a view to completion of these transactions in October 2018 and Autumn 2019 respectively, when current supply contracts expire.

On completion, the Severnside bottle manufacturing plant will then benefit from substantial investment from Müller to ensure that it has state of the art capabilities and flexibility.

Jobs are not impacted by these moves, with affected employees able to transfer across to Müller.

Andrew McInnes, Müller Milk & Ingredients Managing Director said:

“We are clear about the need to drive down the use of plastic and have worked with our suppliers to remove 10,000 tonnes from our milk bottles since 2016. We are also actively increasing the use of recycled plastic and seeking significantly higher levels of sustainable packaging innovation.

“With these acquisitions we are changing our operating model to gain greater control and agility to ensure that our packaging is fit-for-purpose, recyclable and evolving to meet rapidly changing customer and consumer needs.

“Ownership of packaging assets immediately adjacent to our dairies gives us a significant advantage in our sector. Rather than being reliant on third party manufacturers or having to purchase and transport empty packaging from remote manufacturing facilities to our dairies, we will have the ability to make milk bottles in our own plants to our specification and pass them straight to our filling lines.”

Müller is continually reviewing packaging materials used throughout its UK operations to ensure that they are fit for purpose and can be recycled wherever possible. The business supports the Government’s plans for a circular economy and is working actively with WRAP to achieve greater resource efficiencies.

Notes to Editors

Müller Milk & Ingredients

  • Müller’s fresh and flavoured milk bottles and cream products are 100% recyclable
  • Since 2016, 10,000 tonnes of plastic has been removed from Müller milk bottles. This is a 13.5% reduction
  • Müller is committed to using 50% recycled plastic in its plastic milk bottles by 2020. At the moment, up to 30% of the plastic in Müller’s fresh milk HDPE bottles are made from recycled material.
  • Müller’s milk caps are now a tint (not a solid colour) to improve the quality of recyclate

Müller Yogurt & Desserts

  • Müller Yogurts and Desserts has removed over 23,000 tonnes of plastic from its packaging since 2006, a 25% reduction.
  • The business already uses in house, vertically integrated packaging manufacturing, enabling it to access specialist packaging skills and expertise, and drive further reductions.
  • Major investment in MYD’s Telford facility, which will double in size by 2020, will also include the capability to utilise vertically integrated packaging manufacturing. 

Müller UK & Ireland

Müller UK & Ireland is wholly owned by the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller. It employs around 12,000 people in a business which comprises two distinct business units: Müller Milk & Ingredients and Müller Yogurt & Desserts.

Based in Market Drayton, Müller Yogurt & Desserts is the UK’s leading yogurt manufacturer, responsible for major brands such as Müller Corner, Müllerlight and Müller Rice. It also produces, at production facilities in Minsterley near Shrewsbury, chilled desserts under licence from Mondelez International. Müller Yogurt & Desserts also supplies the UK private label yogurt market from a state of the art yogurt facility in Telford, Shropshire.

Müller Milk & Ingredients aims to be the biggest and best fresh milk and ingredients business with a network of dairies and depots servicing customers throughout the country, producing skimmed, semi-skimmed, whole, flavoured milk and brands including FRijj. It also has the capacity to produce salted, unsalted and lactic butter each year for both the domestic and international markets, and operates the milk&more doorstep delivery service.

The acquisition of Dairy Crest’s dairy operations in December 2015 marked a milestone in Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller’s global growth strategy and in particular its aspiration to place much more emphasis on end to end supply chain innovation, adding value to the UK dairy category.