Jobs look set to go at Arla Foods production sites in the UK and Denmark with the dairy giant consolidating its butter production at Westbury Dairies, its UK venture with co-ops First Milk and Milk Link.

Arla said today (4 November) that a Danish site in the town of Varde, which supplied the UK market will close with the loss of 45 jobs.

Some 18 posts at a second UK site – in Settle, north Yorkshire – could be under threat from the move. The Settle facility will remain open and produce UHT milk.

The decision to shift butter production to Westbury Dairies will also affect a site in Sweden in Gotene. An Arla spokesman told just-food that the company was studying whether it could replace the butter production at Gotene moved to Westbury Dairies with other work to lessen the impact on jobs.

Arla is creating around 60 jobs at Westbury Dairies with plans to build a butter making and packing facility for retail products at the site. Westbury Dairies already produces bulk butter.

Peter Lauritzen, CEO of Arla Foods UK, said: “Today’s announcement is strategically important for Arla by enhancing our environmental credentials in line with our carbon reduction strategy, and further reinforces our commitment to the UK. The initiative is also in line with our commitment to develop the potential of the Westbury facility and secure its long-term future.”

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Arla became the third shareholder in Westbury Dairies two months ago when it bought a minority stake in the business.