Dairy company Müller has confirmed it will acquire the capability to manufacture its own fresh milk packaging in the UK in order to reduce plastic use.
The multi-million pound decision will give Müller the means to better control its packaging and reduce plastic, while increasing the use of recycled plastic in its bottles to a target of 50% by 2020, according to the company.
Müller said it will use its new capabilities to pursue innovative new packaging solutions, while working in partnership with its customers.
“We are clear about the need to drive down the use of plastic and have worked with our suppliers to remove 10,000 tonnes from our milk bottles since 2016,” said Andrew McInnes, Müller milk & ingredients managing director.
“We are also actively increasing the use of recycled plastic and seeking significantly higher levels of sustainable packaging innovation.”
Plastic bottles used for Müller’s branded and private label fresh milk products are already 100% recyclable, according to the company.
Acquisitions of bottle manufacturing plants owned by Nampak adjacent to Müller’s dairies at Bellshill and Manchester have already concluded.
The company is in advanced negotiations to purchase Nampak’s bottle manufacturing assets adjacent to its Foston and Severnside dairies with a view to completion of these transactions in October 2018 and Autumn 2019 respectively, when current supply contracts expire, according to Müller.
“With these acquisitions we are changing our operating model to gain greater control and agility to ensure that our packaging is fit-for-purpose, recyclable and evolving to meet rapidly changing customer and consumer needs,” McInnes said.
Upon completion of these transactions, Müller said will substantially invest in the Severnside bottle manufacturing plant, to ensure that it has state of the art capabilities and flexibility.
“Ownership of packaging assets immediately adjacent to our dairies gives us a significant advantage in our sector,” McInnes added. “Rather than being reliant on third party manufacturers or having to purchase and transport empty packaging from remote manufacturing facilities to our dairies, we will have the ability to make milk bottles in our own plants to our specification and pass them straight to our filling lines.”
The company added that jobs will not be impacted by these moves, with affected employees from the plants able to transfer across to Müller.
Müller said it is continually reviewing packaging materials used throughout its UK operations to ensure that they are fit for purpose and can be recycled wherever possible.
The business said it supports the UK government’s plans for a circular economy and is working actively with WRAP to achieve greater resource efficiencies.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.