How we got here
In 1971, Theobald Alfons Müller took over his father’s small dairy in the Bavarian town of Aretsried. That dairy had just four employees. Today, the Müller Group is an extended family of over 25,000 people. We’re a fast growing, international, chilled-food business with operations in more than 10 countries.
We rank as the largest private dairy in Germany and we’ve held the market leading position in the UK’s yogurt segment since 1995. With the addition of Robert Wiseman Dairies at the beginning of 2012, the building and commissioning Britain’s biggest butter facility in Shropshire in 2013 and having acquired Dairy Crest’s dairy operations in 2015, we now have a substantial presence in the British dairy sector.
We want to be an employer of choice within the food and drink industry, and to be recognised as a great place to work. We are ambitious and determined to achieve our aspiration to build a truly diverse dairy business which is the best in the UK.
The man behind the milk
The commercial success of the group is largely down to Theobald Alfons Müller (Theo Müller). In 1971, he took over his father’s company in Aretsried, Swabia, and turned the four-man dairy into what it is today. With well-conceived, quality-oriented milk processing, constant process improvements and technological innovations, the Müller Group processes billions of litres of milk each year into Müllerlicious dairy products and whey powder.
A visionary approach
The Müller brand is recognised by almost 100% of the German population and is the cornerstone of the group. This is down to decades of category innovation, from “Müller Reine Buttermilch” and “Müllermilch” to the “corner yogurt” and “Froop”.
A visionary approach runs through the business, from NPD to process to our facilities. The largest of the Müller Group plants is located in Leppersdorf, Saxony, near to Dresden in Germany. This is Europe’s most modern dairy and around €820 million has been put into its construction and expansion since 1994. A 2,215-strong workforce is now employed here and 1.7 billion kg of fresh milk is delivered each year.
In 2007, the group invested €22 million in the construction of the world’s first bio-ethanol plant at the Leppersdorf site. We produce 10 million litres a year of this environmentally friendly fuel additive, which comes from the whey by-product, molasses. We also recycle around 1.5 million litres of process water a day, which is treated at a “vapour processing plant”. This facility purifies the water to a quality comparable with drinking water so it can be fed into the production process and used again.
The large-scale whey IV project was successfully completed in summer 2011, following an investment of around €70 million. This will provide access to new future-oriented markets for the Müller Group, including sports nutrition, baby food and clinical nutrition.
In addition to the milk-processing subsidiaries, the Müller Group also includes the packaging company Optipack GmbH, its own logistics company Culina and Fahrzeugtechnik Aretsried GmbH. Müller Naturfarm is one of the largest fruit-processing companies in Germany and number three in Europe with production of 110,000 tonnes a year.
Müller and beyond
Müller has operated in the UK since 1987 and the first plant outside of Germany was opened in 1992 at Market Drayton. Müller Dairy became the UK market leader in the yogurt segment shortly afterwards.
At the start of 2012, the group took over Robert Wiseman Dairies, with its state-of-the-art plants, vast distribution network and extended family of British dairy farmers, and in December 2015 the company acquired the dairy operations and distribution businesses of Dairy Crest Group plc. The acquisition was made with the aim to add value and unlock new opportunities for innovation in the UK dairy industry through knowledge, scale and an entrepreneurial way of operating.
The company has invested over £500 million in the expansion of its dairy and distribution network since 1994 alone – more than any other fresh milk producer in the UK.
The Müller brand has been successfully represented in Italy since 1995 with sales subsidiaries and its own products. And the Müller Group sells the Almhof brand in the Netherlands. The company also set up its own sales subsidiary in Prague that has supplied the Czech and Slovakian markets with Müller products since March 2008.
After entering the Israeli market in February 2008, Müller went on sale beyond European borders for the first time. And, in addition to packaging in Hebrew, the products are also manufactured according to extremely rigorous Koscher guidelines, under the supervision of Rabbis.
The activities of the HK Food Group, one of Germany’s leading convenience food companies, are also part of the group company. Its product range includes well-known brands in the chilled gourmet salads, sauces and fish specialties segments, such as Homann, Nadler, Livio and other Homann Group brands. The Nordsee branch business also belongs to the group company. All of which come under family ownership. You can find out more here www.muellergroup.com.