Express Dairies is a subsidiary of Dairy Crest, specialising almost entirely in home deliveries of milk and other dairy products.
The major creamery and milk bottling plant was located just south of South Acton railway station on the North London Line. This gave easy and equal access for milk trains from both the Great Western Railway and the Southern Railway.
The company was purchased by Grand Metropolitan in 1969, and sold in 1991 to Northern Foods. It was demerged from Northern Foods in 1998, and purchased a 51% controlling stake in Claymore Dairies Ltd of Scotland, for £2.2 million.
Express Dairies acquired Star Dairies Food Service Ltd. and certain assets of Star Dairies International Ltd for £3.5 million in February 1999. In June the UK liquid milk operations of Glanbia plc were acquired for £100 million, and the share capital of Blakes Chilled Distribution Ltd. was purchased in August for £3 million.
Express Dairies announced a joint venture in Northern Ireland with Golden Vale plc in November 2000 that created Dale Farm Dairies Ltd, although that was sold in October 2001. Express Dairies disposed of its UHT business and Frome creamery in July 2002.
Post war, Britain was changing. The chairman's new son-in-law, American citizen and ex-US Navy sailor Patrick Galvani had been studying retailing before coming to the UK, particularly supermarkets. Galvani made a pitch to the board, which resulted in Britain's first supermarket opening in Streatham, South London in 1951 under the Premier Supermarket brand. While the average British retailer was taking £98/week, the average take at Premier was £1,000/week. The company developed an estate footprint of similar 2,500 square feet (230 m2)+ retail outlets, all under the Premier Supermarkets brand. In 1960, in an attempt to develop a national footprint, Galvani made a pitch to the board to buy northern based Irwin's 212 stores, but they refused to back him; Jack Cohen of Tesco subsequently bought the chain. After Galvani resigned over a dispute to take Green Shield Stamps, in 1964 the chain was sold to Unilever's Mac Fisheries chain for £1million. The cash income allowed Express to develop and launch marketing for long-life milk.
- Archive hub
- Competition Commission Report 1990
- Grand Met Sells Dairy Interests New York Times, 21 November 1991
- UK Business Park: Northern Foods
- Express and Arla deal set to cut overcapacity
- Dairy Crest buys rival to expand milk round Guardian, 24 July 2006
- Helen Gregory (2001-11-03). "It's a super anniversary: it's 50 years since the first full size self-service supermarket was unveiled in the UK". The Grocer. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "History". MacFisheries.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-30.