The UK’s largest dairy processor Dairy Crest has cut a quarter of its field sales team as a result of reducing its milk supply to the middle-ground market.

A spokesperson for the Dairy Crest told just-food today (11 May) that the company has reduced its UK team by ten people to 30. 

“We have a large field sales team that deals with the middle-ground, which includes corner shops and restaurants and we are reducing the amount of milk we supply to that area. As a result of that we are reducing the [sales team] number by ten. I think that reflects today’s trading environment.”

On the reasons for the reduction in supply, the spokesperson said: “We prefer to sell milk to residential customers and major retailers.”

He added that he did not expect any more cuts to be made from the team in the near future.

The cuts follow an announcement from Dairy Crest in April that it plans to close two dairies in a bid to reduce costs and sustain profitability at its liquid milk business, putting more than 400 jobs at risk.

The dairy processor insisted the closure of its Aintree and Fenstanton plants were part of a strategy to reduce costs at its liquid milk business, which is operating in an “extremely challenging market environment”.

In the same month the company lost its liquid milk supply contract to UK retailer Tesco, which said it did not plan to renew the deal which ends in July and accounted for 3% of Dairy Crest’s liquid milk sales last year.

In March, Dairy Crest announced a review of its operations at the firm’s creamery in Stonehouse, which it said will result in redundancies. Around 35 staff are expected to be made redundant next month.