The 2013 Dairy UK White Paper, published today, shows how the UK dairy industry has moved on from the challenges of 2012, with new transparent pricing systems, better, more collaborative, supply chain relationships and a stronger drive to profitable growth.

In his introduction, Dairy UK Chairman Billy Keane says that the report “shows clear evidence of further progress in our attention to animal welfare, the environment and food safety – all of which are vital to underpinning the value of our products to consumers”.

The report sets out the evidence as to how the industry has continued to improve its competitive position through capital investment and rationalisation of processing capacity by processors, and a range of tools to help dairy farmers focus on cost efficiency.“Our ability to drive more competitiveness into our businesses will determine our ability to grow” said Mr Keane.

The 2013 report has chapters for each element in the supply chain, running through from Animal Health and Welfare, to World Dairy Trade and future Prospects. An innovation this year is the inclusion of a personal statement from an influential individual commenting on the strengths of the industry in that particular part of the supply chain.

“This report depicts an industry to be proud of” said Mr Keane. “Optimism, backed by encouraging long term forecasts for rising global demand, is not misplaced. We must exploit these opportunities to the full. We are well set to win our share.”




The 2013 Dairy UK Award was tonight presented to Sir Jim Paice MP in recognition of his significant contribution to the UK dairy industry.

Making the presentation at the Dairy UK Dinner in London, Chairman Billy Keane said that during his time as Minister of State for Agriculture & Food in the Coalition Government, Sir Jim made some memorable appearances at Dairy UK’s annual flagship event.

“His period of office coincided with a difficult time for the British dairy industry. Bovine TB, bad weather, high input costs, and protests by dairy farmers meant that the industry, and the Minister, was never far from the headlines” said Mr Keane.

“And yet, even in the face of these difficult times, he was able to deliver on behalf of the dairy sector.

“Probably of greatest significance was his commitment to industry agreement on the Voluntary Code of Practice on Producer contracts, the importance of which cannot be over-estimated.

“Jim received a richly deserved Knighthood last year, to which recognition he can now add the Dairy UK Award”.




The UK dairy industry needs to place its ‘massive potential for growth’ at the heart of its strategy for the future, Bill Keane, chairman of Dairy UK said today.

Addressing political and industry leaders at the Dairy UK annual dinner in London, Mr Keane said: “Around the world we can expect growth in demand for our products higher than most countries can for their whole economies.

“As economies develop, populations rise. The process of urbanisation will continue in developing countries so we can expect the demand for our products to rise. That is a pretty good situation to be in and it presents great opportunities. We have massive potential for growth.”

Mr Keane said the industry could take ‘great pride’ in its achievements and can go from strength to strength. He said: “We should not for a moment underestimate the challenges that face our industry. Like other sectors we have tough decisions ahead of us as we try to create profitability throughout the supply chain.

“That said, our customers – and I mean our consumers – love our products. I think we would all do well to remember that. Britain loves dairy. We have done for centuries and dairy is part of the fabric of the nation. Not only do our consumers love it, the story is the same all over the world.”

He said Dairy UK was committed to a strategy of ‘getting it right’ and this included:-

  • Governments freeing up markets, minimising red tape and incentivising added value.
  • Businesses striving for competitiveness.
  • Anticipating change, managing volatility, promoting and protecting the integrity of dairy products.

Mr Keane said: “One year ago, we were approaching a summer of real discontent. Today, I think the outlook is very different. Sure the milk prices have gone up, and that’s made a massive difference but so have the input costs.

“I’m not in any way underestimating the impact that the weather has had on our milk production levels but in general there is significantly more promise in the industry than there was a year ago.

“That tells me that the industry, working hand in hand with the Government, has laboured hard to address what was a very difficult situation for everyone.

“I commend the work done by Dairy UK, and the farming unions throughout the country on the Voluntary Code of Practice. That has been a huge success and the work will go on to make it an even better Code, with even stronger penetration.

“Getting things right is our strategy. Enabling individual businesses on farms and in companies to prosper and be rewarded on their own merits is our philosophy.

“Profitable growth is our target. And I have every confidence in delivering this. That will be getting it right.”




Jim Begg, Director General of Dairy UK, has announced he is to retire from the industry this year.

Begg has been at the head of the organisation since its inception in 2004. Prior to that he led both The Dairy Industry Association and The Dairy Industry Federation. He was also President of the International Dairy Federation between 2004 and 2008.

He said: “I informed the board of Dairy UK last year of my intention to retire in 2013 and since then have been working with board members to prepare the organisation for the future. I have spent all my working life in the dairy industry and have witnessed a great many changes.

“I believe passionately in the strengths of the UK dairy industry and there is no doubt in my mind that it can enjoy a vibrant and successful future. “I feel that this year is the right time for me to hand over the baton at Dairy UK to someone who will enjoy the job and relish the challenges it brings, as I have done over the years.

“I would like to thank the staff at Dairy UK who have given me and the organisation tremendous support at every turn.”

Dairy UK Chairman Billy Keane commented: “This really is the end of a great era. Jim has been in the industry for 43 years and for the last 25 years he has been right at the heart of the change and dynamism that the sector has experienced. He has provided real leadership and has been the public face and a stabilising force through many difficult periods of turbulence. His experience will be sadly missed, particularly his extensive knowledge of the international dairy developments.”

Keane added : “We have been preparing for Jim's departure since he first shared his intentions with us last year. Since then, he has been working with us to restructure the organisation and pave the way for a smooth handover of power. We hope to announce details of his successor in the near future.

“In the meantime, the Board of Dairy UK is united in its appreciation of the work that Jim has done for Dairy UK, and for the industry in general. We accord him every good wish for the future.”




Commenting on the possibility that the negotiations on CAP reform may finally reach a conclusion this week, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said: “the direction of travel in the UK dairy sector has always been towards greater market orientation, and we need any CAP reform package to ensure that we can continue down that road.

“Now is not the time to be introspective or protectionist. The policy framework for the dairy sector must be geared towards engendering confidence in the industry’s ability to be competitive and take advantage of the undoubted opportunities in domestic and world markets.

“We need to encourage milk production to take advantage of increasing global demand for our products. The last thing that we should be considering is supply management measures in the dairy sector. As a tool it would be ineffective in dealing with marketplace volatility, and it would send out all the wrong signals to the supply chain.

“Whilst a conclusion to the lengthy negotiations on CAP reform would be desirable, a fair and equitable outcome for the UK dairy sector is of paramount importance” said Begg.




DairyUK.TV, an internet-based TV Channel that highlights the role of the dairy industry, was unveiled at a press briefing in London today.

Jim Begg, Director General of Dairy UK, introduced the project. He said: "At Dairy UK, communications is at the heart of everything we do. The development of our own internet TV channel is an innovative new way of communicating with the people we want to reach - politicians, the media and everyone involved in our industry.

"Video on the internet is growing 50% year on year. It is estimated that by 2015, 91% of all internet traffic will be video. Video content is also fast becoming the preferred way to digest information. Statistics show that 80% of people watching video content are more likely to remain engaged to the end, compared with 20% reading written material. DairyUK.TV will ensure that we are taking full advantage of all technology at our disposal to engage with these audiences in a modern and accessible format."

Chairman Billy Keane commented: "DairyUK.TV has the potential to become a key resource for everyone in the industry; it is a place that we can host content from people across the world and stream conferences live for interested parties wherever they can get online. This is a very exciting development for Dairy UK and I look forward to tuning in with you."

DairyUK.TV will feature channels for News, Markets and Data, Farming, Nutrition, Product Development, Conferences, the Environment and the Dairy Debate. Each channel will host series of videos relating to the topic.

Dairy UK hopes to host not only its own content on the site but also include videos from other sources that would be relevant for their audiences.

Dairy UK.TV will complement the existing Dairy UK website, and the two will be interlinked.



Dairy UK announced today the launch of the Dairy Debate website.

The first debate, focusing on the EU and market management, will go live on Tuesday, May 28th at 12 noon at www.DairyDebate.co.uk Dairy Debate is an independent online platform set up to promote discussion and debate on issues facing the industry. A question will be posed by the moderators, together with opinion pieces from three leading experts. Visitors to the site can then take part in the conversation and share their views.

Jim Begg, Director General of Dairy UK, said: “Our objective is to promote debate and discussion. We want this to be a safe place for the industry to comment on the problems we face.

“It is essentially an independent barometer for views and opinions throughout the supply chain. Experts will give their views on the issue at hand, but the really interesting material is what will be generated by the industry stakeholders and the public.”

Commentary for the first debate over whether or not the EU should engage in market management will include a statement by Kimberly Crewther from Fonterra making the case for total liberalisation, The European Milk Board case in support of market management, and an alternative approach put forward by Peter Dawson at Dairy UK.

Though created by Dairy UK, DairyDebate.co.uk is a stand-alone website to which anybody and everybody can contribute their thoughts and ideas. Topics and answers will be moderated by Dairy UK and anything illegal or offensive will be removed, but that will be Dairy UK’s only involvement. The site will also host a back catalogue of past debates.



Britain’s milkmen are delivering more than £300 million worth of dairy products and household necessities.

The milkman has become ‘the corner shop on wheels’ for more than two million homes, the Dairy UK Doorstep Delivery conference in Haydock Park heard today.

Simon Bates, Dairy UK Communications Director, said: “The doorstep business is extremely proud of the role it plays in the local community, especially amongst the most vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly. This is apparent through the feedback the industry receives through many thousands of customer comments.

“Doorstep delivery is a great British tradition dating from the 19th Century and while the market has changed over the years, many milkmen are still considered to be cornerstones of their local communities. One dairyman has claimed he has more milkmen on the streets in parts of a large city than there are policemen!”

Today’s conference heard from milkmen who have been maintaining or expanding their businesses, and actively developing and growing their customer base. Despite challenging market conditions, these innovative dairymen are driving their businesses forwards by:

• Developing internet ordering, order changes, promotions and sales

• Using their websites and social media to communicate and develop relationships with existing and potential customers

• Local advertising and promotional campaigns, sometimes including local radio, events in shopping centres, leaflets, goods promotions and media advertising.

• Introducing electronic payment methods and, of course, providing high levels of customer care and promoting their “local” credentials.

“Britain’s milkmen are widely respected as trusted food suppliers,” said Bates “and with continuing innovations in product lines and ordering/payment systems, are also undoubtedly providing a home delivery service for the 21st century.”


Some interesting facts about today’s doorstep delivery service:

• Milkmen serve on average 475 customers per round

• On average milkmen stock around 245 products – not just milk, cream and bread, but very often a range of household necessities from eggs to bin liners and kitchen foil, to fruit juice, potatoes, snacks and pet food.

• Many milkmen also often offer a range of heavy and bulky items, with garden compost very popular, along with bags of gritting salt in the winter.

• A returnable glass milk bottle makes an average of 20 round trips on the doorstep, and around 80% of doorstep milk is delivered in the glass bottle, with 20% delivered in plastic bottles.

• 46% of doorstep milk is still delivered on electric milk floats, with the remaining deliveries, especially in more isolated and rural areas, made with diesel vehicles.

Customers can search for a local milkman through the dedicated website – www.findmeamilkman.net



The Dairy UK Board has confirmed the appointment of Billy Keane as its Chairman.

At the forefront of the dairy industry for many years as Managing Director of one of the country’s largest dairy companies, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Billy brings enormous experience and business acumen to his new role.

He has a practical understanding of working with all parts of the dairy supply chain and a deep awareness of both the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Commenting on his appointment, Billy Keane said: “Collaboration remains key within our industry and I will endeavour to ensure that Dairy UK continues to pursue this approach to addressing industry issues.

“The Voluntary Code of Practice on milk contracts is giving the industry a platform to build trust and deal with issues in a united manner. This opportunity should be maximised.

“Innovation is undoubtedly the way forward in my view and the industry needs to do more collaboratively to make the most of the positive underlying trends.

“I would like to pay tribute to Neil Kennedy, not just for the invaluable leadership that he has provided to this organisation over the last six months, a period that has not been without its challenges, but for his immense contribution from when he first joined the Board back in June 2008.

“My intention is to continue the good work done by Neil and his predecessor, Robert Wiseman.”

“My tenure as Chairman of Dairy UK has been only brief” said Mr Kennedy, “but as I have now left the dairy industry and as I am getting increasingly involved in other projects, I feel that now is the time to stand aside.

“I am delighted that Billy Keane has agreed to take up the reins. He brings a lot to the role of Chairman of Dairy UK. I wish him every success in his new position.”

Billy has held senior positions in a number of businesses, most recently as Group Finance Director and Managing Director with Robert Wiseman Dairies PLC, where he was involved from 1994 until the recent takeover by Muller Dairies.

He received a Special Achievement Award in the 1996 Scottish Financial Director of the Year competition, is a past-chairman of the Group of Scottish Finance Directors, and was a member of the IGD Policy Issues Council.




Dairy UK has called on regulators to take a more balanced approach to cheese and be more positive about its nutritional qualities.

Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Cheese Group Reception in London on Wednesday evening, Dairy UK Communications Director Simon Bates said continued criticism of the use of salt in the cheese making process is often misleading and ill-informed.

“Cheese making is something that the UK dairy industry is immensely proud of and it is in everyone’s interests that its nutritional values are recognised.

“Cheese is made with just a few basic ingredients – milk, a starter culture, salt and rennet,” said Mr Bates. “Yet UK cheese makers have managed to take these few ingredients and turn them into over 700 named varieties. Each has its own unique taste, texture and nutritional composition.

“A 30g portion of cheddar contains 125 calories, 10g of fat and 6.5g of saturated fat. But it also contains protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins.

“The Department of Health advises that adults don’t consume over 6g of salt a day. That 30g portion of cheddar cheese contains 0.5g of salt, or less than 10% of the recommended maximum intake, and cheese is only responsible for 4% of the nation’s salt intake.”

Mr Bates went on to explain that next week is National Salt Awareness Week.

“It is important to remember the facts about cheese and salt,” said Mr Bates. “Salt is added to cheese for safety and technical reasons. Without it, many products would be inedible and unsafe.

“As an industry, we continue to work on overcoming the technical barriers to reducing the salt content of our product, and no doubt in time we will succeed.

“But we must always put customer safety and acceptability at the heart of these efforts. We cannot compromise on safety.”



Cheese exporters group announced

With Defra’s full support, Dairy UK is launching a Cheese Exporters Group.

The new initiative was unveiled at the All Party Parliamentary Cheese Group reception in London on Wednesday.

David Heath, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food said: “I’m very pleased to give my personal support to this new Dairy UK initiative that should be very complementary to work to boost the dairy industry through improving its exports capability”.

“We’re very excited about this new Group,” said Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg, “and particularly pleased that Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath has given it his support.

“The overall objective of the initiative is to encourage British cheese makers to focus more on export markets for cheese.

“One of the key the activities of the new Group will be examination of opportunities for collaborative activity. This might involve product development, sharing market intelligence, joint marketing activities and sharing routes to market.

“Other Group activities will include liaison with Defra and UKTI, sharing market information and best practice on export markets, and identification of priority countries for resolution of outstanding export health certification issues.

“David Heath will, on behalf of both Defra and Dairy UK, soon be writing to cheese makers to invite them to attend the first meeting of the Group” explained Mr Begg.

“This meeting will take place shortly after the UK Dairy Export Forum at the International Food Exhibition on 19th March”.




Dairy UK has published Sustainable Dairy, a short colourful booklet that looks at the relationship between the dairy industry and the environment.

“The dairy industry is a major player in the food sector,” explained Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg. “More than 98% of the UK population consumes our products on a regular basis. So the challenge of ever more mouths to feed increases day by day, and the way that our industry interacts with the environment becomes increasingly important.

“We take these challenges and responsibilities very seriously. Sustainable Dairy examines the challenges in a clear and concise fashion, and sets out what the industry is doing to address them.

“Our new booklet shows that we’re doing a lot. We’re not complacent, but we think that Sustainable Dairy shows that we have a good story to tell.”



Equitable treatment must be at heart of UK CAP policy, says Dairy UK

Commenting on the EU budget agreement, Dairy UK Policy Director Peter Dawson said: “In order to get political agreement, greater flexibility is being granted to EU Member States to decide how to implement the CAP. There is still a long way to go in the political process before the CAP is finally agreed. Yet more flexibility may be built into it on the way. This means that, when it’s finally implemented, there may be very little remaining that is ‘common’.

“Sometimes flexibility is to be welcomed, particularly over the development of greening measures, but too much will plough up the level playing field. We need a commitment from the Government that, when it comes to implementation, it will ensure that UK milk producers are treated equitably compared to their EU counterparts. The competitiveness of our dairy farmers must not be unduly compromised.

“If the Government wants an expanding and dynamic industry, then it cannot ignore the role of direct payments in influencing farmer confidence to invest in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. This will determine the shape of the EU dairy industry in the post quota world.”



Dairy UK and Wrap sign federation house commitment partnership to reduce water usage

Dairy UK and WRAP have signed an agreement that will see Dairy UK become an official partner to the Federation House Commitment (FHC).

The FHC is a voluntary commitment for food and drink manufacturers administered by WRAP. This contributes to a wider food and drink industry sector target to reduce water use by 20% by 2020. The FHC asks participants to develop water reduction plans, affords them access to expert advice and site visits, and requires the submission of data to demonstrate progress made each year.

The partnership will see Dairy UK become the first new partner since the FHC’s inception, joining the Environment Agency, Food and Drink Federation, Defra and WRAP.

The partnership aims to promote greater awareness of water efficiency within the industry and facilitate wider participation from Dairy UK members. This has already led to the recruitment of a number of new companies, bringing with them twelve additional dairy sites. Dairy UK members now signed up the FHC are: Arla Foods, BV Dairy, Dairy Crest, First Milk and Müller UK companies Müller Dairy and Müller Wiseman Dairies.

Commenting on the new partnership Dairy UK Director Jim Begg said: “The dairy industry takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and water use has to be at the top of the agenda for us in terms of a sustainable future.

"This partnership demonstrates our industry’s commitment to reducing its water consumption and will build upon and compliment the water reduction targets already set by the industry’s own Dairy Roadmap.”

Richard Swannell, Director at WRAP said: “In order to achieve water use reduction, through the Federation House Commitment (FHC), we need effective partnerships. As a result, I am delighted that Dairy UK has become an official partner. This will help to reduce water consumption further, saving businesses money and helping conserve an important natural resource."




Commenting today on the announcement of Government consultation on the implementation of the Dairy Package in England, Dairy UK Director General Jim Begg said: “Everyone involved in the negotiations that resulted in the agreement of the Voluntary Code of Practice recognises that the principles set out in the Code provide a strong basis for the future evolution of industry contractual relationships, avoiding the need for regulation.

We agree with the Minister’s view that this important initiative now needs time to be put in place and its effects evaluated. It is definitely a constructive way forward for the industry.”

Producer Organisations may potentially provide a new opportunity for producers collectively to market their milk.


“We will seek to co-operate with Defra and the industry to progress collaborative work in this area so that those Producer Organisations that do emerge are viable and can make a positive contribution to the supply chain,” explained Begg.



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