Glass half full for dairy firm despite sour taste in sector

The family firm can trace its roots back to 1939. Picture: Contributed
The family firm can trace its roots back to 1939. Picture: Contributed
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Bridge of Allan-based Graham’s The Family Dairy said it is optimistic about the year ahead, including product launches and further growth abroad in the pipeline, despite seeing a year-on-year dip in sales and profit in its latest annual results.

However, the family-owned farming business said the falls came in an extremely difficult environment for the global dairy industry, weighed down by oversupply that resulted in “significant balancing costs for Graham’s and deflation in the market”.

For the year to March, sales fell to £83.6 million from £86.5m in the prior 12 months, with the firm mainly attributing the drop to deflation “despite volume wins during this period”, while profit dipped to £1.43m from £1.5m.

The business noted that it struck two “significant” partnerships in 2015. In February, it became exclusive milk and whipping cream supplier to all 68 Starbucks stores across Scotland, and the following month signed a seven-figure deal with major Scottish food supplier Brakes Scotland to provide a range of its products to all its customers north of the Border.

Graham’s also bought Glenfield Dairy in Fife from First Milk during the reporting period, with the purchase enabling it to grow its product range to include quark, cottage cheese and sour cream.

It also said the milk market has shown green shoots of recovery in the second part of 2016, and the business has raised its price to farmers in recent months.

Managing director Robert Graham said the firm “delivered a solid performance during what has been an incredibly challenging time for the entire dairy industry". He added that its plans for future growth include developing a new dairy processing plant in Stirling.

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