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Dairy Crest Group plc
Type Public (LSE: DCG)
Founded 1981
Headquarters Esher, Surrey, UK
Key people Simon Oliver, Chairman
Mark Allen, Chief Executive
Industry Dairy Products
Revenue £1,569.7 million (2008)
Operating income £95.5 million (2008)
Net income £54.7 million (2008)
Employees 8,342 (2008)
National Distribution Centre, Warwickshire.

Dairy Crest Group plc (LSE: DCG) is a major dairy products company in the United Kingdom. Its brands include Cathedral City Cheddar cheese, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite, Clover, St Ivel and Frijj. The Company delivers milk to around 1.1 million households via their milkmen. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



Dairy Crest was established in 1981 as the processing arm of the Milk Marketing Board.[1] In 1983 the Company launched Clover, its dairy spead.[1]

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.[1] In 1995 it bought the Cathedral City brand of Cheese from Mendip Foods Ltd.[1]

The business was privatised in August 1996 and Dairy Crest was listed on the London Stock Exchange.[1] In July 2000 it acquired the dairy and cheese products division of Unigate in London[1] and in November 2002 it acquired the St Ivel spreads company which had been based in Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.[1] In September 2004 it went on to acquire the Country Life butter brand from English Butter Marketing Company.[1] In July 2006 it acquired Express Dairies from Arla Foods for £33m.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]


The Company has the following products:


Liquid Milk

A Dairy Crest Ford Transit based milk float
A Dairy Crest Smith's Elizabethan milk float
Inside a Dairy Crest milk float garage

Dairy Crest is a major supplier of own label milk to UK supermarkets. Current contracts include Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Lidl and the Co-op.

Dairy Crest is the largest UK 'middle ground' distributor of milk and dairy products, servicing wholesalers, foodservice and Bottle Milk Buyers (known within the industry as BMBs).

Dairy Crest is also the largest doorstep milk operator (i.e. the traditional UK milkman) in the UK. Despite the 'doorstep' industry suffering a gradual decline since the early 1980s, this is still a profitable part of the industry.

Dairy Crest (along with Unigate and Express Dairies) pursued an aggressive policy of franchising milk rounds in the early 1990s, however since 2000 many rounds had reverted to being managed.

In 2007, Dairy Crest launched "milk&more", an online ordering service for its doorstep customers. As of June 2009 the online ordering service was suffering from "relaunch" issues.


It produces several brands of cheese. The most popular one is Cathedral City, a brand of Cheddar cheese produced at Davidstow in Cornwall, from a 25 year old recipe.

Other cheese brands include Davidstow and Wexford.


St.Ivel Gold is a low fat spread that was launched in 1977 by St Ivel and became popular for being lower in fat than other brands.

Originally a Kraft then St Ivel brand, Vitalite is a sunflower spread which is known for its Smiling Sun which was part of a famous advertising campaign, with a song set to the tune of Desmond Decker's song "Israelites". Empty Vitalite tubs, being of a heavier construction than most margarine containers, are also popular for being used as bowls for feeding pets.

Utterly Butterly is a brand that is made from buttermilk, there is also a Scandinavian variant.

Willow is a churned buttermilk-based spread, which is sold as 250 g blocks. Other brands include Country Life (formerly owned by English Butter) and Clover.

The butters and Clover are made in Crudgington in Telford, and the other spreads such as Gold and "Clover Lighter are made in Kirkby in north Merseyside.


Frijj is a milkshake drink. It is typically sold in 500ml curvy bottles. Flavours include chocolate, banana, strawberry, vanilla and white chocolate. There are also limited edition flavours featuring characters from The Simpsons. These are typically available for a few months at a time. The following flavour/character combinations have been released: banoffee pie (Krusty the Klown), raspberry doughnut (Homer Simpson), mint chocolate (Mr Burns), chocolate fudge brownie (Chief Wiggum) and cookie dough (Homer again). By popular demand, chocolate fudge brownie has become a permanent flavour.

Ingredient Products

Milk powders etc.

Production sites

The main production sites in the UK are in Chadwell Heath, close to the A12 which bottles much of the milk for London, and at Severnside in Stonehouse in Gloucestershire, close to junction 13 of the M5.


External links


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