The dairy said production at the site in Derbyshire would wind down and was likely to cease operations by the end of the year
Muller Milk and Ingredients (MMI) has confirmed it will wind down operations at Foston with the dairy to be in touch with a ‘small number of farmers’ not located close to other dairies in its network to ‘discuss and consider future options for their milk’.
The facility was likely to cease operations by the end of the year, with processing absorbed by other Muller dairies.
It follows a 45 day statutory review of the company’s dairy network, looking at factory utilisation against a backdrop of declining consumption of fresh milk and significant changes in retailing.
Foston was identified as ‘most at risk’ due to its size and inability to absorb significant production volume from other dairies, its current level of utilisation and geographical position.
Muller said most dairy farmers supplying Foston would be unaffected with milk switched to be processed at other dairies.
But the company will be in touch with a ‘small number’ of farmers located in areas not close to other Muller dairies to discuss and consider future options for their milk.
Patrick Müller, Chief Executive at MMI said: “We fully recognise that this decision will be devastating for our employees at Foston, but if we are to have any prospect of building a fresh milk business which is sustainable in the short and longer term, we need to make significant changes to reduce our costs.
“MMI has the best invested network in our industry. But we must adapt quickly to meet the realities of a changing market.
“Inaction is not an option and would place at risk the future viability of fresh milk, long regarded as a staple of the nation’s fridges.”
He added the workforce had handled the review process with ‘the utmost professionalism and diligence’.
“Wherever possible, we will offer our colleagues opportunities to relocate within our network, and we will do everything we possibly can to support those who do not wish to relocate or for whom there are no roles.”