The scheme had already closed for new members from 2006, but the dairy producer has now decided to shut it down for existing members from April 2010. The move will affect 3,500 of its 8,000 staff.
Announced in a trading update for the last six months, Dairy Crest said the closure was necessary in order to reduce risks associated with the scheme but did not reveal how much it expected to save.
Despite the closure, Dairy Crest said the company has “performed well” in the first six months. It did not reveal many specific sales figures but said that sales of milk to its major retail customers were up 10 per cent on last year.
The company said its Dairies Division has benefited from milk price reductions and from its ongoing cost reduction programme. This has helped compensate for the unwinding of stock profits in its cheese business.