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AAA, wanted buyer for cheese factory in UK

Danish dairy giant Arla Foods wants to sell Melton Mowbray’s UK plant specializing in Blue Stilton

Danish dairy giant Arla Foods is looking for a buyer for its dairy in Melton Mowbray, UK, known locally as Tuxford or even Tebbutt. The plant, located in Leicestershire, in the English East Midlands, employs about 60 people, but is in crisis due to the decline in sales of "special cheeses" in the country. The site of Melton Mowbray is in fact one of the 6 plants in the world authorized to produce Blue Stilton, hard and blue cheese produced in the United Kingdom that in 1996 obtained the DOP recognition (limited to the counties of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham).

The sales crisis was also echoed by Fran Ball, UK vice president of production at Arla. "In recent years -said the manager- the UK specialty cheese market, which includes Stilton, has continued to decline. As a farmer-owned cooperative, we are therefore assessing what this means for our business, so that we can continue to return a fair price to our 2,000 owner farmers".

"Here at Arla Foods -adds Ball- we are proud of the heritage we have with our facilities. We have the privilege of employing some of the best cheese producers in the country, including our own Arla Melton Mowbray Creamery UK". Arla Foods has eight production sites in the UK, including Taw Valley Creamery in Devon, Trevarrian in Cornwall and Stourton Creamery in Yorkshire, the UK’s largest market for the Danish company. In 2022, the group recorded an increase of 18.3% in revenues to 2.99 billion Euros, thanks to the increase in prices, given that the volumes of Arla brand activities in the United Kingdom fell by 7.3%. 

In early January, the dairy company decided to increase its stake in Massby Facility and Service, a property management company that takes care of the maintenance of a dairy in Sipoo, near Helsinki, from 60% to 100%. Regarding the Melton Mowbray website, Arla said that while waiting for buyers and reviewing sales plans, the plant "will continue to be operational and there will be no impact on production, customers or employees". Within the next April the update about the revision of the productive plans should be announced. 

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EFA News - European Food Agency