Dairy is milking nation’s hunger for freshest food

It appears it’s not just hand sanitiser and toilet rolls that are seeing an upturn in demand due to coronavirus.

Employee at Müller's Telford site
Employee at Müller's Telford site

With more people staying at home, it seems there is a currently a greater demand for fresh food items such as dairy products.

Coronavirus panic buying has prompted dairy giant Müller to launch a significant recruitment drive for up to 300 additional key workers amid the spike in demand in products such as fresh milk, yoghurts and butter.

Müller, which has operations in the West Midlands in Market Drayton, Minsterley and Telford, is the latest in a growing number of food and drink firms that have ramped up recruitment to curb the pandemic on their business.

Supermarket giant Tesco has announced it is recruiting 20,000 people to meet coronavirus panic-buying demand. Meanwhile, Birmingham headquartered Two Sisters Food has issued a plea to find new workers to step up production for supermarkets and help feed the nation. Two Sisters, which has chicken processing factories in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, needs to fill both factory and logistics positions.

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To meet its extra orders, Müller has significantly raised total output but with demand expected to remain high, and some workers absent due to self isolation, the business is now looking for up to 300 people.

It says it has raised its output by simplifying product ranges and distribution arrangements, and bolstering front line operational staff by ‘re-allocating responsibilities’.

Delivery drivers, dairy technicians, factory operators, packaging operatives and garage mechanics are all needed, including at its sites in the West Midlands.

“Dairy is the cornerstone of Britain’s food industry, so our products and supply chain have a major role to play in helping to feed the nation,” says CEO Bergen Merey. “This is no longer simply a duty, this is now an obligation.

Aerial shot of Telford site following £50 million expansion

“We’re part of an entrepreneurial, progressive and vibrant family-run business, and people are crucial to our success. Our message is simple, if you’re available and have the necessary skills and qualifications, then we’d love to hear from you.”

The firm has also announced Milk & More, the country’s largest milk and grocery doorstep deliver service, is also looking to recruit 100 milkmen and women following a record 25,000 new customers in just one week.

It is looking for new recruits to deliver essential food and household items, including eggs, bread and cheese as well as milk in reusable glass bottles.

Jon Jenkins, CEO at Müller Milk & Ingredients, says: “Milk is found in 96 per cent of Britain’s fridges and at this time of national crisis, ensuring the nutritional benefits of fresh milk are available to every household in the UK is galvanizing our whole business.”

Müller product

Meanwhile, dairy farmers supplying Müller who meet the conditions for the Müller Direct Premium 20201, will be offered a milk price of 27.25p per litre from May 1, an increase of 1ppl.

Rob Hutchison, operations director at Müller Milk & Ingredients says: “Following strong consumer demand for dairy products like fresh milk, yogurts and butter, the whole supply chain is currently under considerable pressure right now. We are facing into uncertainty, but we have a resilient supply chain and are well placed to deal with it.

“The milk that we collect from farms across Britain plays an absolutely vital role in helping to feed the nation. So we are committed to doing everything we can to support our farmer suppliers, while maintaining first-class customer service levels and meeting strong consumer demand.

“To meet recent demand, we have significantly raised our total output. But with demand expected to remain high, and some employees absent due to self-isolation, we’re also looking for up to 300 additional colleagues to play a key role in manufacturing and delivering a range of essential dairy items.”

Automated high bay warehouse at Telford

Müller has invested heavily in its sites in recent years, including in Telford, where last year it completed a £50 million expansion project to build a chilled yogurt manufacturing facility capable of producing 500 million pots each year. The investment, which created 65 new jobs in the area, has enabled Müller to meet growing demand from consumers for branded and private label yogurts made with milk from British farms.

The project has doubled the size of the company’s current Telford site, increasing its capacity to make products in formats including big pots, split pots and regular fruited yogurts.

The Telford expansion includes the installation of three new state-of-the-art production lines, the modernisation of three existing lines, the installation of an energy efficient cooling facility and a new automated high bay warehouse. It also ensures that Müller has the manufacturing footprint to pursue potential further increases in production at the site of up to 700 million pots in future years.

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