Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Visit to Dairy Crest

The Summer Parliamentary recess is an important opportunity to catch up with local contacts in the community. Today, I visited Dairy Crest in Claygate. Dairy Crest is the leading British-owned dairy company. It notched up pre-tax profit this year of £50.6 million despite a range of challenges facing the industry, and employs 5,000 people.
Dairy Crest's four key brands are Clover, Frijj, Country Life and Cathedral City cheddar. CEO Mark Allen talked me through some of the main challenges for the dairy sector - including changing consumer habits, the market power of retail supermarkets and efforts to secure properly transparent labelling (particularly important for Dairy Crest, which can genuinely market its products as 'made in Britain').
Dairy Crest also has an impressive corporate social responsibility agenda. As one part of that, they provide a wide range of support to local community groups across Elmbridge. It includes things like Dairy Crest staff volunteering to help with meals on wheels for the elderly, financial support for efforts to raise money for Thames Ditton hospital, and sponsorship for an upgrade of facilities at Cobham village hall. It's great to have such a stellar British firm not only based in the community, but also putting a lot back in.     

Olivia Seccombe welcomes me to Dairy Crest


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