Muller begins review to tackle growing ‘milk surplus’ in Scotland

Fresh milk processor Muller Milk & Ingredients has warned its Scottish suppliers that their 25% surge in farm milk production has not been supported by growth in the local market.

The firm claimed that a result, the increase was not sustainable and would have “significant environmental consequences” as the extra milk is currently transported to England to be sold.

The dairy business has confirmed a review with its 230 dairy farmer suppliers in Scotland to address the issue strategically.

It comes less than a year after Muller completed the largest single investment in Scottish dairy processing in a decade.

The £15 million project saw substantial upgrades made to Scotland’s largest fresh milk dairy in Bellshill.

Rob Hutchison, milk supply and operations director at Muller Milk & Ingredients, said: “Fresh milk is loved and in 96% of the nation’s fridges, but consumption is marginally down year-on-year. Production from Scottish farms who supply us, however, is up by 25% since 2014.

As a result, Muller is transporting 180 million litres per annum – equivalent to 33L of additional milk for every person in Scotland – to our dairies in England, where we can find a market for it.

“The financial and environmental cost of moving this volume of milk is substantial and we must work urgently with farmers who supply us and other industry stakeholders to review a range of measures to address this increasingly unsustainable situation both in the short and longer-term.”

The business will discuss the issue over the next month with the Muller Milk Group, the elected farmer board which represents dairy farmer suppliers to the company, and will also seek views from other industry stakeholders.

Muller will then determine measures to be taken once the review period is complete.