The new jobs will be created in frontline roles across production, warehouse management and quality control, with half already being filled by people from the local area and a further 25 to be recruited over the next two to three years. Some of the investment is also being put towards new production equipment, filling lines, packaging facilities and a new energy center, which will improve the overall efficiency of the site.
Settle’s production capacity will double because of the investment, with Arla producing its full range of lactose-free milk products at the site. This includes: Lactofree Whole, Lactofree Semi Skimmed, Lactofree Organic Semi Skimmed as well as long life Lactofree Semi Skimmed and Whole products, Lactofree Whole, Lactofree Semi Skimmed, LactoFree Skimmed, Lactofree Organic Semi Skimmed as well as long life Lactofree Semi Skimmed and Whole products.
The dairy cooperative is shifting its Lactofree operations to North Yorkshire as it said demand for ‘free from’ dairy products continues to rise in the UK. According to figures from retail analyst Kantar, the ‘free from’ dairy category was worth £392.6m ($546.5m) in 2017 and has risen in value by 93% to be worth £756m ($1.05bn) as of April 2021 – with the industry’s value to double again by 2026.
Arla UK’s managing director, Ash Amirahmadi, said, “We are particularly pleased to start the production of our Lactofree ranges in Settle, where we’ve had a presence for more than 40 years. The public has a real thirst for our Lactofree products, and we’re determined to meet their needs with upweighted production capabilities and an expanding range.”
Arla’s Lactofree range is currently worth 70.8% of the UK’s lactose-free milk market and accounts for 12.6% of the total ‘free from’ dairy sector. Arla has invested £40m ($55.7m) in the development of ‘free from’ products during the last five years, as the company continues to diversify its product offering.