Britain’s largest dairy products manufacturer has launched a £100 million cost-cutting and margin improvement programme.

Dubbed ‘Project Darwin’, bosses at Muller Milk & Ingredients (MMI) hope the scheme can secure a “sustainable future” for the business.

The programme will include a comprehensive review of every aspect of MMI’s operations, including logistics, back office and staffing.

The aim is to further simplify the business to reduce costs and improve its customer focus.

Changing markets

Muller Milk & Ingredients chief executive Patrick Muller said the firm’s markets were changing.

“Fresh milk is loved by British families with 96% of UK households having milk in their fridges.

“But the market environment has changed significantly due to global dairy market volatility, a decline in consumption and changes in retailing and we need to adapt and return to sustainable levels of profitability
so that fresh milk can continue to be part of the fabric of British life.

We have the best-invested network in our industry and aim to be the leading fresh milk processor in the country for years to come.

“We’ve invested in unique and class-leading propositions in farm-to-fridge product quality and shelf life. We have fully recyclable packaging including securing 50% of Britain’s stocks of recycled HDPE [High-density polyethylene] for use in bottles, efficient dairies and innovative ways of working with farmers to help protect them from market volatility.

‘Tough decisions’

“This transformation programme will inevitably require tough decisions and a great deal of change but when Project Darwin succeeds, consumers, customers, employees and farmers will benefit, and we can again look forward to a vibrant and progressive future.

“We have already started the process by securing important new long-term strategic partnerships with customers which will reinvigorate the sector.”

The 12-month Project Darwin programme is already underway and covers manufacturing, logistics, products, procurement, people and customer relationships.

It is too early in the project to be able to convey specific changes in each part of the MMI business and organisation and in customer relationships and priorities, but the company is committed to keeping stakeholders informed during the course of the programme.