Dairy Crest

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Dairy Crest Group plc
Traded asLSEDCG
IndustryDairy Products
HeadquartersEsher, Surrey, United Kingdom
Key people
Stephen Alexander (Chairman)
Mark Allen (CEO)
ProductsCathedral City (cheese)
Petits Filous
Revenue£456.8 million (2018)[1]
£71.4 million (2018)[1]
£149.5 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
1,097 (2018)[1]
SubsidiariesExpress Dairies

Dairy Crest Group plc is a leading British dairy products company. Its brands include Cathedral City Cheddar cheese, Country Life butter, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite and Clover. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired by Saputo in April 2019.

Until December 2015, the company used to process and sell milk—in wholesale and via doorstep deliveries—and owned the Frijj milkshake brand. These were sold to Germany's Müller for £80 million.


Dairy Crest was established in 1981, as the milk processing arm of the Milk Marketing Board.[2] In 1983 the company launched Clover, its dairy spread.[2] In 1991, the company established a joint venture with French dairy company Yoplait called Yoplait Dairy Crest (often abbreviated to YDC) which is 51% owned by Yoplait and 49% by Dairy Crest and which distributes Yoplait brand products in the United Kingdom.[2]

In 1995, it bought the Cathedral City brand of cheese from Mendip Foods Ltd.[2]

The business was privatised in August 1996, and Dairy Crest was listed on the London Stock Exchange.[2] In July 2000, it acquired the dairy and cheese products division of Unigate in London[2] and in November 2002, it acquired the St Ivel spreads company which had been based in Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.[2] In September 2004, it went on to acquire the Country Life butter brand from the English Butter Marketing Company.[2]

In July 2006, it acquired Express Dairies from Arla Foods for £33m.[3] In October 2006, it sold the majority of its own label cheese business to First Milk, its Scottish equivalent, along with the creameries and factory that produce most of the products concerned.[4]

In January 2007, Dairy Crest bought St Hubert for £248 million securing the Cholegram, Le Fleurier and Omega 3 brands, which are among the top selling spreads in France, and the Vallé brand which is the market leader in Italy.[5]

Sale of milk business[edit]

A Dairy Crest Smith's Elizabethan milk float

In July 2013, Dairy Crest sold its doorstep milk delivery operations in the Northwest of England to Creamline Dairies, who now operate the milk rounds from the depots in Warrington, Flixton, Stockport and Macclesfield, and whose subsidiary, Mortons, operate all those in Wirral, Chester and Liverpool.[6]

On 6 November 2014, Dairy Crest announced a big slump in profits, down 95% to £900,000 in the six months to September.[7] The company agreed the sale of its entire legacy milk business, which processes and distributes milk, as well as the Frijj milkshake brand, to Germany's Müller for £80 million, to be combined with Müller's existing subsidiary Müller Wiseman Dairies. The sale was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority on 19 October 2015,[8] and the sale was completed on 26 December 2015.[9]

Acquisition by Saputo[edit]

On 22 February 2019, it was announced that Canadian dairy company Saputo would be buying Dairy Crest.[10] The company was valued at £975m, making each share worth 620p.[11] The transaction was completed on 15 April 2019.[12]


The company supplies cheese, spreads and drinks. Cheese brands include Cathedral City, Davidstow Cheddar and Wexford.[13] Spread brands include Clover, Country Life (named for the magazine), St. Hubert, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite and Willow.[13] Drink brands include Country Life Milk.[14]

Spread production is consolidated at Kirkby.[15] Crudgington Creamery was closed in 2014 when production of spreads was concentrated at Kirkby, while its research and development facility was transferred to an innovation centre built by the company at Harper Adams University.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Dairy Crest. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dairly Crest History
  3. ^ Mark Tran. "Dairy Crest buys rival to expand milk round". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  4. ^ "BBC NEWS - Business - Dairy Crest sells cheese business". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Dairy Crest buys St Hubert from Uniq". This is Money. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Creamline FAQs - General FAQs - Help and Support". creamline.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Dairy Crest sells milk operations as profits slump". BBC News. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  8. ^ Ratcliffe, Madeline (19 October 2015). "Dairy Crest share price rises as CMA approves Muller takeover". City AM. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  9. ^ Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (28 December 2015). "Dairy Crest loses taste for UK milk production with Müller deal". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Cathedral City firm to be bought for £975m". BBC News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  11. ^ Onita, Laura (22 February 2019). "Dairy Crest deal set to net boss Mark Allen £4.8 million". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Saputo completes acquisition of Dairy Crest". Food Manufacture. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b Dairy Crest: Brands
  14. ^ "Dairy Crest launches website for Country Life Organic Milk". Talking Retail. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  15. ^ Dairy Crest: Locations
  16. ^ Emma Walker (12 June 2015). "Demolition to start at creamery, Landmark buildings to disappear". Shropshire Star. p. 6. The headline refers to demolition of the premises due to begin 2015.

External links[edit]