McQueens buys facility
Revival of doorstep deliveries drives dairy expansion
Calum McQueen (commercial director), Mick McQueen (chairman) and Ruairidh McQueen (sales director)
A revival in demand for doorstep milk deliveries has led to 100 jobs being created at an expanding Scottish dairy business.
McQueens Dairies has acquired the former Muller dairy in East Kilbride and aims to create the jobs over the next two years.
The Glasgow-based family business, which was founded in 1995 by company chairman Mick McQueen and his wife Meg, now operates eight distribution depots in Scotland and north of England as well as a dairy in Glasgow, employing 400 staff.
The 6.5 acre dairy site in East Kilbride will allow the business to accelerate its growth aspirations in the doorstep delivery sector. The new facility is expected to open in Spring 2020.
Doorstep deliveries of milk in glass bottles are on the increase as customers turn against plastic packaging. McQueens was one of a number of dairies to benefit after campaigner Laura Young raised the issue at the recent TedX conference.
Mr McQueen said: “We have given our direct delivery doorstep customers the option of their milk delivery in glass bottles for many years and that demand has noticeably increased in the last year and it continues to grow.
“We recently had our busiest week for new customers looking to place an order for milk to be delivered directly to them in glass bottles. Our new dairy has been designed to accommodate the continued increase in demand for our fresh milk to be delivered in glass bottles.”
Commenting on the dairy expansion, he said: “In the last year we grew turnover by 30% and we expect that increase to be repeated this year so the new dairy in East Kilbride, which is larger than our current dairy, gives us a real platform to maintain that momentum. We’re also very excited about creating many new jobs as a result.
“Our success to date has been by focussing on the demand for doorstep delivery both here in Scotland and in the north of England. We know that many people purchase milk from supermarkets but our business is about delivering milk direct to the consumer be that doorsteps or businesses. There is a real growth in the demand for doorstep delivery and we are perfectly placed to respond.
“Our current dairy and distribution centre in the M8 Food Park in the north of Glasgow has reached capacity and doesn’t afford us any more scope to expand so the move to a purpose built dairy, just 12 miles away and still within easy reach of our tens of thousands of customers, makes perfect sense.”
As a result of the business’s expansion it will also increase its requirement for raw liquid milk supply from farmers providing a welcome boost to their businesses.
Mr McQueen said: “We will be using the dairy in a different way to how it was used before, which was predominantly to produce flavoured milk and potted cream. We’ll be focussed on processing liquid milk along with orange and apple juices so a large part of our investment will be in modern dairy technology including new refrigeration plant, pasteurising equipment and a filler line that includes glass bottles which are having a resurgence with our customers.
“We are also pleased that another positive result from our expansion is that we will be processing more milk. Our supply relationship with First Milk will see them delivering more raw milk to us, directly from farmers which is good news for everyone.”
Fraser Brown, commercial director at First Milk, added: “This announcement is great news and we look forward to continuing our milk supply partnership with McQueens as they grow and develop their business. We are proud to supply them with high quality, farm assured fresh milk directly from our farmer members, with full traceability – something we know is important to all customers.”
McQueens Dairies has more than 100,000 milk delivery customers across Scotland and in the north of England served by distribution depots in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Galashiels, Mansfield, Huddersfield, Warrington and Preston.