Dairy Crest on track to save £20m this year

The owner of Cathedral City cheese today said that its cost-cutting plans remained on track as it reported mixed fortunes for its key brands.

Dairy Crest said that first-quarter sales of Cathedral City and Clover were ahead of the same period last year, but Country Life Spreadable was flat and sales of Country Life block butter were “significantly lower” as it scaled back promotional activity in the wake of recent cream price rises.

Overall, the group said it was on target to reduce its costs by £20 million this year, and plans to reorganise the business into a single structure – announced in February – were “going to plan”.

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Chief executive Mark Allen also said that Dairy Crest was eyeing a move into the “rapidly growing” baby food market by producing demineralised whey powder from its Davidstow creamery.

He added: “We are currently finalising the necessary investment required to move this forward and are talking to several prospective partners.”

Allen said more details may be announced in September, when the firm delivers its next trading update. Results for the six months to 30 September are due to be published on 7 November.