Acquisitions of Nampak’s bottle manufacturing plants adjacent to Müller’s dairies at Bellshill and Manchester have already concluded, and Müller 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.
Müller said the move will give it the means to further accelerate reduction in the use of plastic and increase the use of recycled plastic in its bottles to its target of 50% by 2020.
Currently, up to 30% of the plastic in Müller’s fresh milk HDPE bottles are made from recycled material, and plastic bottles used for Müller’s branded and private label fresh milk products are already 100% recyclable.
Müller said it will also use its newly acquired assets to pursue new packaging, working in partnership with its customers.
On completion of the deals, Müller said it will invest in the Severnside bottle manufacturing plant.
Jobs are not impacted, as employees will be able to transfer to Müller.
Andrew McInnes, Müller Milk & Ingredients managing director said the company is clear about the need to drive down the use of plastic and has already worked with suppliers to remove 10,000 tonnes from its milk bottles since 2016.
“We are also actively increasing the use of recycled plastic and seeking significantly higher levels of sustainable packaging innovation,” McInnes said.
“Ownership of packaging assets immediately adjacent to our dairies gives us a significant advantage in our sector. 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.”
Cutting sugar by 13.5%
In addition to packaging, the company said its yogurt range, including Müller Corner and Müllerlight, has achieved a 13.5% reduction in total sugar, equalling 1759 tonnes, since 2015.
It said the reduction across its yogurt portfolio is ahead of Public Health England’s voluntary guidelines, which sought a 5% lowering of total sugar by August 2017.
Having already reformulated Müller Corner Strawberry flavor so that it now has 19% less total sugar, the business has announced the launch of its first Müller Corner made with unsweetened natural Greek Style yogurt. The Müller Corner Plain range replaces the Müller Greek Corner range and contains, on average, 27% less total sugar.
Available in three flavors: Strawberry and Goji Berry; Blueberry and Elderberry; and Raspberry and Pomegranate, the new Müller Corner Plain, which is high in protein, is available in Asda now, and through other retailers in March, April and May.
Müller said it plans to further grow and innovate brands including Müllerlight, Müller Corner and Müller Rice.
The business has confirmed a £100m ($139m) investment over the next three years to develop, manufacture and market new branded and private label yogurt and desserts products.