A £15 million project to substantially upgrade Scotland’s largest fresh milk dairy in Bellshill and secure 265 jobs has had its completion marked by a visit from Scottish 400 metres hurdles record holder and multiple medallist, Eilidh Doyle.
The project by Müller Milk & Ingredients, makers of the Official Milk and Milk Drinks of British Athletics, represents the largest single investment in Scottish dairy processing for more than a decade.
It gives Müller’s Bellshill dairy the capacity to process more than 370 million litres of fresh milk and cream each year with milk provided by 230 Scottish dairy farmers.
The project includes a new filling hall to make cream products, two additional fresh milk production lines, energy efficient cooling systems and an extended chill space to increase capacity for finished products. The work also included the creation of state of the art facilities for colleagues on the site.
With the future sustainability of the fresh milk processing sector being debated in the industry, the project is part of a plan by Müller to create a profitable, progressive and efficient fresh milk business in Britain, with new capabilities to make the next generation of fresh milk, cream and flavoured milk products.
Bellshill is the only Scottish dairy with the ability to manufacture milk bottles on site which are 100% light-weighted and recyclable. It also makes products using recyclable Tetra Pak cartons made with paperboard, a renewable raw material.
The wholly owned on-site bottle manufacturing capability cuts down unnecessary movements of vehicles and gives Müller the means to further accelerate a reduction in the use of plastic and increase the use of recycled plastic in its bottles to a target of 50% by 2020. Müller has already reached 40% recycled material use in its bottles.
Müller’s three year programme to create a centre of excellence for dairy in Scotland at Bellshill involved the closure of outdated dairies in Aberdeen and East Kilbride.
Müller Milk & Ingredients CEO Patrick Müller said:
“Fresh milk deserves to be celebrated. It’s a fantastic, healthy natural product and an essential part of British life.
“Milk from our Bellshill dairy is sourced from local farmers who shape our landscape and our environment. It’s in fridges less than two days after leaving farms because of our investment in processing and logistics infrastructure.
“We are unique in Scotland in that our 100% recyclable packaging is not shipped in from miles away. It’s manufactured in an adjacent site before being directly passed to our filling lines.
“It’s clear however that in terms of profitability, the fresh milk sector has reached a tipping point. Change is required because if processing goes, it’s gone forever. We are confident that Müller will succeed in this environment because we are well invested, progressive and efficient.
“Müller has strategic partnerships with customers and farmers. This allows us to lead with a comprehensive agricultural and quality agenda and with innovative ways to avoid and recycle plastic.”
“Our employees deserve enormous credit for their work during this major project. Despite significant disruption on site and an exceptionally harsh winter in 2017/18 our team in Bellshill maintained a high level of performance throughout.”