The Digital Dairy Value-Chain project is designed to deliver an uplift in the rural economies of Cumbria and South-West Scotland. We plan to develop a world-class research, innovation, business, and skills platform to establish the region as a leader in advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy manufacturing.

The project aims to develop innovative technologies, infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing processes to create a fully integrated and traceable supply chain. We want to generate opportunities to optimise manufacturing and develop new products and markets.

The project will:

  • Develop digital connectivity and stablish the region as a beacon for digitally connected, value-added milk processing
  • Stimulate research and development by providing state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise, catalysing collaborative R&D and commercialisation of innovative products and processes
  • Facilitate business growth by providing technical/business support and facilities for early ventures, scale-up businesses, and established companies to undertake New Product Development and process improvement
  • Attract talent and skills and foster a talent pipeline to advance opportunity and enable industry to exploit new technologies and market opportunities

Download our Digital Dairy Value-Chain slides to learn more.

Increasing value for Cumbria and south-west Scotland’s dairy industry

Dairy facts

The UK is the third-largest milk producer in Europe and eleventh in the world, producing 14.9 billion litres annually with a farm-gate value of £3.7 billion annually (2020). Most UK-produced milk is supplied to manufacturers who process and package it for liquid consumption (47.5%) or process it into value-added products (50.6%). UK dairy processors deliver a gross value added (GVA) of £1.8 billion (2018).

Cumbria and South-West Scotland is the UK's second largest milk field, producing 1.9 billion litres annually with a farm-gate value of £550 million. There are 52 dairy manufacturing businesses adding value to milk from 1,300 farms, with notable scope to increase processing activity.

Global demand is expected to grow by around 5% annually to 2025. The UK is cost competitive and well placed to take advantage of emerging markets. Processors have made significant capital investment (£867M in five years), pursuing innovation strategies and new market opportunities.

UK consumers spend £9.5bn on dairy products. Food service and food manufacturing industries also purchase dairy products. Trade balances are mixed:

  • Liquid milk - static (98% self-sufficiency)
  • Yogurt - growth as consumers focus on health
  • Butter - declining (51% self-sufficiency)
  • Cheese - growth in both value and volume (35% self-sufficiency)

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