CREDITON Dairy Limited, the leading independent dairy drinks producer, has announced details of a major £20 million capital investment programme which will be undertaken over the next three years.

Having already invested £33 million in the business since the management buyout in 2013, the new programme will include the further upgrading of the dairy’s processing capabilities; significant investment in carbon reduction initiatives focused on the installation of new effluent treatment and water recycling plants, an efficient gas boiler and an energy monitoring control system to reduce the usage of gas and electricity; and the development of new employee welfare and office facilities.

A Crediton Dairy farmer with some of her cows.
A Crediton Dairy farmer with some of her cows. (Crediton Dairy)

The latest investment announcement coincides with the filing of Crediton Dairy’s report and accounts for the 52 weeks ending December 31, 2022.

The reporting period was a challenging one for the dairy industry.

In particular, the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine combined to drive significant inflationary pressures that resulted in both increased milk prices and significantly higher processing, ingredients, packaging and distribution costs.

As a result, the company had to work closely with its retail customers to recover cost inflation through higher selling prices whilst aiming to minimise the impact on consumers during the cost of living crisis.

Against this backdrop, financially the business performed well with a turnover of £114.1 million (2021: £101.5 million) and a profit of £7.9 million in line with the prior year (2021: £7.8 million).

The results reflect the continuing strong sales performance and improved mix of the growing range of own label flavoured and functional milks and branded dairy drinks made by Crediton Dairy.

The latter includes Arctic Coffee, which is now the No.2 iced coffee brand sold in British supermarkets; the fast growing Promlk range of fresh protein shakes; The Real Milkshake Company range of premium shakes; and the Moo branded range of flavoured and lactofree milks.

While in the current year, the company says that the branded portfolio made by Crediton Dairy has been further expanded with the recently launched new Biocol cholesterol lowering milk.

In line with this growth, Crediton Dairy has recruited more dairy farmers into its dedicated local milk supply pool.

Today 94 farmers, nearly all of whom farm within 30 miles of the dairy, are contracted to supply Crediton Dairy, with an annualised volume of 160 million litres of high quality, farm-assured milk.

Commenting on the prospects for the business, Tim Smiddy, Managing Director said: “In the light of increasing demand for our product portfolio we are confident about the long-term prospects for the dairy drinks sector and the role that we, as a focussed and flexible, independent, added value business, can play within it.

"Our latest £20 million, three-year, capital investment programme will enable us to upgrade our processing capabilities, improve our staff welfare facilities and reduce our carbon footprint.”