Dairy Crest

Dairy Crest Group plc
Traded as LSE: DCG
Industry Dairy Products
Founded 1981
Headquarters Esher, Surrey, UK
Key people
Stephen Alexander (Chairman)
Mark Allen (CEO)
Revenue £1,329.8 million (2015)[1]
£68.3 million (2015)[1]
£20.5 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
4,500 (2015)[2]
Subsidiaries Express Dairies
Website www.dairycrest.co.uk

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 is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

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.[3] In 1983 the company launched Clover, its dairy spread.[3]

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 UK.[3] In 1995 it bought the Cathedral City brand of cheese from Mendip Foods Ltd.[3]

The business was privatised in August 1996 and Dairy Crest was listed on the London Stock Exchange.[3] In July 2000 it acquired the dairy and cheese products division of Unigate in London[3] and in November 2002 it acquired the St Ivel spreads company which had been based in Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.[3] In September 2004 it went on to acquire the Country Life butter brand from the English Butter Marketing Company.[3] In July 2006 it acquired Express Dairies from Arla Foods for £33m.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Sale of milk business

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 will operate the milk rounds from the Warrington, Flixton, Stockport and Macclesfield depots, and whose subsidiary Mortons will operate all those in the Wirral, Chester and Liverpool.[7]

On 6 November 2014, Dairy Crest announced a big slump in profits, down 95% to £900,000 in the six months to September.[8] The company agreed the sale of its entire legacy milk business, which processes and distributes milk, to Germany's Müller for £80 million to be combined with Müller's existing UK subsidiary Müller Wiseman Dairies. The sale was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority on 19 October 2015,[9] and the sale was completed on 26 December 2015.[10] The sale included the Frijj brand, and four dairies.


The company supplies cheese, spreads and drinks.

Cheese brands include Cathedral City, Davidstow Cheddar and Wexford.[11] Spread brands include Clover, Country Life (named for the magazine), St. Hubert, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite and Willow.[11] Drink brands include Country Life Milk.

Spread production is consolidated at Kirkby.[12] 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.[13]


  1. 1 2 3 "Dairy Crest Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Dairy Crest. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  2. "Who We Are". dairycrest.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Dairly Crest History
  4. Mark Tran. "Dairy Crest buys rival to expand milk round". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  5. "BBC NEWS - Business - Dairy Crest sells cheese business". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  6. "Dairy Crest buys St Hubert from Uniq". This is Money. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  7. "Creamline FAQs - General FAQs - Help and Support". creamline.co.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  8. "Dairy Crest sells milk operations as profits slump". BBC News. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  9. Ratcliffe, Madeline (19 October 2015). "Dairy Crest share price rises as CMA approves Muller takeover". City AM. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  10. Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (28 December 2015). "Dairy Crest loses taste for UK milk production with Müller deal". Financial Times. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  11. 1 2 Dairy Crest: Brands
  12. Dairy Crest: Locations
  13. 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.
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