Tesco heads to university for dairy innovation drive

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

One of the UK’s leading retailers is teaming up with a veterinary university to target developments in both animal welfare and product innovation that it says may benefit the country’s dairy sector.

Tesco claims that its new National Dairy Centre at Liverpool University’s Wood Park farm, England, will offer a unique partnership in the dairy industry by allowing collaboration of experts from across the supply chain.

Speaking at the opening of the centre yesterday, Tesco’s legal affairs director said that move demonstrated how national retailers could potentially work to improve dairy production on a national basis.

Lucy Neville Rolfe said that the site would make use of British milk and look to identity new ways of adding value to the products through new technologies and production practices.

“The unit itself is ideally located close to some of our major milk pools in Cheshire and Lancashire,”​ she stated. “The set up is close in nature to a typical Tesco farm supplier making it an ideal testing ground for us.”

According to Tesco, key areas that will be focussed on through the collaboration will include:

  • Improved milk quality
  • Higher returns for farmers
  • Best practices in terms of environmental production impacts.
  • Better consumer service and product innovation.

In addition, Wood Park Farm will also provide a resource centre for farmers, consumers and NGO’s, the company claimed.

Cooperation benefits

Emma Rutter, Tesco’s dairy agricultural manger, said that by working with the University of Liverpool, there would be many mutual benefits generated by the site.

Our link with the faculty will give us direct access to some of the best specialists in the country within the fields covering areas such as herd health and nutrition,” ​she stated. “This will give us an invaluable insight into issues that really matter to our producers and customers.”

In return, the retailer suggested that the university would be provided with a stronger commercial focus for its research allowing for wider industry roll-outs of its findings.

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