Dairy specialist Arla is to create 50 new jobs in Yorkshire as it brings production of lactose-free milk to the UK.
A £25 million investment in existing facilities at Settle will see the company’s full range move from Denmark and Sweden.
The decision has been fuelled by a 93 per cent increase in free-from purchases in the sector over the last four years.
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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.
“As a business with its UK headquarters in Yorkshire, we are delighted to be investing back into our home county and supporting local rural communities.”
The new jobs will be created in important frontline roles across production, warehouse management and quality control, with half of them already being filled by people from the local area and a further 25 to be recruited over the next two to three years.
Investment covers new production equipment, filling lines, packaging facilities and a new energy centre, which will improve the overall efficiency of the site.
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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.
Sales analysis from Kantar shows the category was worth£392.5 million in 2017 and has now risen to be worth is set to double again by 2026.
Arla, a global co-operative owned by 9,400 dairy farmers – nearly a quarter of whom are British – claims 70 per cent of the UK’s lactose free milk market, and 12.6 per cent of the total ‘free from’ dairy sector.