Müller Milk & Ingredients (MMI) is set to reduce plastic use by 400 tonnes per annum whilst substantially cutting food waste and distribution costs as it simplifies its range of fresh milk and cream products.
The SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) rationalisation programme, part of MMI’s Darwin project, could see the company pare down the 835 fresh milk and cream SKU’s manufactured across its network of six dairies by up to 40%.
An innovative lightweighting exercise, made possible by Müller’s investment on in-house milk packaging capabilities, will also allow the business to remove 400 tonnes of plastic from its core fresh milk SKUs, while maintaining the integrity and quality of the packaging.
By working collaboratively with customers to focus on popular SKU’s, the company will improve its environmental performance, benefitting customers and consumers and helping to support the long term sustainability of the business.
Patrick Müller, CEO of Müller Milk & Ingredients said: “At a typical dairy more than 90% of the milk we buy from farms is manufactured into less than 80 different product formats, meeting customer requirements for different milk types, pack sizes and labelling formats.
“At the same dairy, the remaining 10% of milk would be processed into a further 125 SKU formats, which is staggering. Typically this milk will be packed into smaller or unusual formats which tend to be far less efficient not only in terms of manufacturing, but through the whole supply chain.
“The environmental cost of persisting with some of these less common SKU’s is significant, requiring our dairies to halt production whilst pack formats are changed for very small production runs, causing unacceptably high levels of product waste, energy use and complexity throughout our business.
“We are working closely with our customers who are fully aligned with the need to simplify and improve environmental and business performance and we are extremely encouraged by the response we’ve had.
“Fresh milk is a loved, iconic British tradition and its in 96% of the nation’s fridges. With Project Darwin we have an opportunity to reinvigorate the industry and we will do so by challenging established practices that have become the norm, benefitting the whole supply chain in the short, medium and long term.”