Saputo Dairy UK
FormerlyDairy Crest plc
Company typeLimited Company
IndustryDairy Products
HeadquartersWeybridge, Surrey, United Kingdom
Key people
Tom Atherton
(President And COO)
ProductsCathedral City (cheese)
Petits Filous
Revenue£456.8 million (2018)[1]
£71.4 million (2018)[1]
£149.5 million (2018)[1]
OwnerSaputo Inc.
Number of employees
1,097 (2018)[1]

Saputo Dairy UK, formerly Dairy Crest Limited, is a British dairy products company. It was created in 2019 when the Canadian company Saputo Inc bought Dairy Crest. Dairy Crest itself was created in 1981 as a spin-off of the Milk Marketing Board.[2][3] Its brands include Saputo Dairy UK, Cathedral City Cheddar Cheese, Country Life Butter, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite and Clover.

Dairy Crest processed and sold milk (wholesale and via doorstep deliveries) and owned the milkshake brand Frijj until the sale of that part of the business to Germany's Müller in 2015. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange as Dairy Crest plc, until it was acquired by Saputo in 2019.[4] Saputo rebranded the company under its own name later that year.


Dairy Crest was established in 1981 as the milk processing arm of the Milk Marketing Board.[5] In 1983, the company launched Clover, a dairy spread.[5] The company established a joint venture with French dairy company Yoplait in 1981, called Yoplait Dairy Crest (sometimes abbreviated to YDC). YDC is 51% owned by Yoplait and 49% by Dairy Crest, and distributes Yoplait brand products in the UK.[5]

In 1995, Dairy Crest bought the Cathedral City brand of cheese from Mendip Foods Ltd.[5] The business was privatised the following year and Dairy Crest was listed on the London Stock Exchange.[5]

Logo of Dairy Crest

In 2000, Dairy Crest acquired the dairy and cheese products division of Unigate in London,[5] and in 2002 bought the St Ivel spreads company, which had been based in Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.[5] In 2004, it acquired the Country Life butter brand from the English Butter Marketing Company,[5] and Express Dairies from Arla Foods in 2006 for £33 million.[6]

The company sold the majority of its own-label cheese business to its Scottish equivalent First Milk in 2006, along with the creameries and factory that produce most of the products concerned.[7] In 2007, Dairy Crest bought St Hubert for £248 million, securing the Cholegram, Le Fleurier, Omega 3 and Vallé brands, which were subsequently sold in 2012 to Montagu Private Equity for €430 million (£347 million).[8]

Sale of milk business

A Dairy Crest Smith's Elizabethan Milk Float (January 2008)

Dairy Crest sold its doorstep milk delivery operations in the North West of England in July 2013 to Creamline Dairies who now operate the milk rounds from the depots in Warrington, Flixton, Stockport and Macclesfield and Mortons operate all those in Wirral, Chester and Liverpool.[9] Dairy Crest announced a big slump in profits on 6 November 2014 which was down 95% to £900,000 in the six months to September.[10]

The company agreed the sale of its entire legacy milk business, which processes and distributes milk, as well as the Frijj milkshake brand, to Germany's Müller for £80 million, enabling it to be combined with Müller's existing subsidiary, Müller Wiseman Dairies. The sale was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority on 19 October 2015,[11] and completed the following December.[12]

Acquisition by Saputo

It was announced in 2019 that Canadian dairy company Saputo Inc would be buying Dairy Crest.[13]

The company was valued at £975 million, making each share worth 620p.[14] The transaction was completed on 15 April 2019.[15] At the time of the sale, Dairy Crest was the fourth largest dairy company in the UK based on turnover.[16] Saputo renamed the business under its own brand in July 2019, though Dairy Crest Limited remained the principal legal entity.[17][2]


The company supplies cheese, spreads and drinks. Cheese brands include Cathedral City, Davidstow Cheddar and Wexford.[18] Spread brands include Clover, Country Life, Utterly Butterly, Vitalite and Willow.[18] Spread and Frylight cooking spray production is consolidated at Kirkby.[19] Davidstow Creamery in Cornwall has been run by the company since 1981.

At Truro Crown Court in December 2021, Dairy Crest admitted charges relating to a series of incidents of serious pollution between December 2015 and January 2021, including the illegal discharge of "biological sludge" and "suspended solids" from its creamery at Davidstow into the River Inny, Cornwall.[20] Fines of £1.52 million were imposed on the company in June 2022.[21]

Plans for the Crudgington Creamery to close were announced in 2012.[22] The Creamery closed in May 2014, when production of spreads was concentrated at Kirkby while the research and development facility was transferred to an innovation centre built by the company at Harper Adams University.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Dairy Crest. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Dairy Crest becomes Saputo Dairy UK". Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  3. ^ "SAPUTO DAIRY UK LTD - Filing history (free information from Companies House)". Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Dairy Crest name to disappear as it rebrands to Saputo Dairy UK". 15 May 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Dairly Crest History". Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
  6. ^ Mark Tran (24 July 2006). "Dairy Crest buys rival to expand milk round". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  7. ^ "BBC NEWS - Business - Dairy Crest sells cheese business". 26 September 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Dairy Crest sells St Hubert". 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Creamline FAQs - General FAQs - Help and Support". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Dairy Crest sells milk operations as profits slump". BBC News. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  11. ^ Ratcliffe, Madeline (19 October 2015). "Dairy Crest share price rises as CMA approves Muller takeover". City AM. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  12. ^ Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (28 December 2015). "Dairy Crest loses taste for UK milk production with Müller deal". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Cathedral City firm to be bought for £975m". BBC News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  14. ^ Onita, Laura (22 February 2019). "Dairy Crest deal set to net boss Mark Allen £4.8 million". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Saputo completes acquisition of Dairy Crest". Food Manufacture. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  16. ^ White, Kevin. "Who owns the dairy industry? The 10 biggest dairy companies in the UK". The Grocer. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  17. ^ Sandercock, Henry (4 July 2019). "Dairy Crest brand replaced by new owner Saputo". The Grocer. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Dairy Crest: Brands". Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  19. ^ "Dairy Crest: Locations". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  20. ^ "Discharge from Davidstow Cathedral City cheese factory poisoned fish". BBC News. 10 December 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Davidstow Cathedral City cheese firm pollution fine". BBC News. 23 June 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Dairy Crest to close Shropshire creamery". 21 September 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  23. ^ Emma Walker (12 June 2015). "Demolition to start at creamery, Landmark buildings to disappear". Shropshire Star. p. 6.