Arla Foods has unveiled plans to invest over £300 million in enhancing five of its UK facilities. The announcement came during the UK Farm to Fork Summit at Downing Street, highlighting Arla’s dedication to bolstering British dairy production and strengthening national food security.

The investment will be channelled into modernising and expanding operations at Arla’s sites in Lockerbie, Stourton, Aylesbury, Westbury, and Taw Valley. These initiatives are aimed at boosting the company’s production capacity and sustaining the high quality of dairy products it offers, thereby reinforcing the UK’s stature in the global food marketplace.

Bas Padberg, managing director of Arla Foods UK, emphasized the strategic nature of this investment, stating, “What this means is that our farmer owners are investing in UK food security – as they are not only producing our milk, but they are backing this investment in our production sites”. He added, “Dairy plays a significant role in the UK economy, with sales of dairy products exceeding £8 billion. On the day of the Farm to Fork Summit we are delighted to set out plans for continued vital investment in our business worth tens of millions of pounds, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of food production and keeping the nation’s favourite dairy products on our supermarket shelves.”

Owned by thousands of dairy farmers across Europe, including around 2,000 in the UK, Arla operates nine production sites across the nation. The proposed enhancements are expected to secure the longevity of these facilities, allowing them to continue producing premium products and maximizing the value of the milk provided by Arla’s farmer owners. Notably, the investment in Taw Valley is designed to tap into global export markets.

Fran Ball, vice president for production at Arla Foods, commented on the commitment to domestic manufacturing: “We are wholly committed to UK manufacturing to ensure we continue to produce the nutritious dairy products that are a staple in millions of fridges across the country. The investments will allow us to make significant upgrades across our portfolio, making our facilities fit for the future of dairy production here in the UK.”

Arthur Fearnall, Arla Foods UK board director and an Arla farmer, expressed pride in the investment: “We are incredibly proud of today’s announcement, which helps to futureproof the production of British dairy. We’re excited to see how the plans across our sites progress over the coming years, as we continue to work together to ensure all Arla farmer owners receive the best price for their milk.”

Specific upgrades include introducing new technology at the Lockerbie Creamery to expand cheddar production, and enhancing extended shelf life milk capabilities in Stourton, particularly for the Cravendale and BoB brands, alongside the introduction of milk in cardboard cartons, allowing for an additional 560 million bowls of cereal to be filled with milk annually. Aylesbury, the UK’s largest fresh milk site, will benefit from new automated box packing capabilities, enhancing packaging flexibility for customers, while Westbury will focus on converting milk into powder for international markets.

Following a March announcement of a £179 million enhancement at the Taw Valley creamery, which is set to create 100 new jobs and boost mozzarella exports, Arla’s latest commitment reaffirms its dedication to the UK’s dairy sector.

Padberg concluded with a forward-looking statement: “We must also ensure we have a robust food supply chain for the UK market – and this starts with ensuring we can continue to return a fair price back to our farmer owners. As one of the biggest food companies in the UK, it is only natural that we look for further opportunities to grow, which includes strengthening our export opportunities.”

This series of investments underscores Arla Foods’ strategy to not only support UK food production but also enhance its competitive edge on a global scale, ensuring the sustainability of its operations and contributions to the economy.


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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