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Muller Quaker Dairy breaks ground on first US yogurt plant

By Mark Astley , 08-Aug-2012
Last updated the 08-Aug-2012 at 13:47 GMT

The firm launched Müller Corner, Müller Greek Corner, and Müller FrutUp just last month.
The firm launched Müller Corner, Müller Greek Corner, and Müller FrutUp just last month.

Muller Quaker Dairy, the joint venture between PepsiCo and the Germany-based Theo Müller Group, has broken ground on its first US yogurt manufacturing plant – less than a month after entering the market.

Last month, the firm announced the launch of its first three products - Müller Corner, Müller Greek Corner, and Müller FrutUp. The announcement marked both PepsiCo’s and Müller’s entry into the US yogurt market.

PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi and Theo Müller Group CEO Heiner Kamps were joined by New York State governor Andrew Cuomo at the Batavia site to celebrate the beginning of construction.

Once completed, the Batavia-based 350,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility will be one of the largest yogurt manufacturing plants in the US and is expected to create more than 180 new jobs, Muller Quaker Dairy revealed.

The firm has, however, declined to comment on the expected operational details of the plant.

Dairy growth opportunity

Muller Quaker Dairy is spending $206m (€166.6m, £131.5m) on the facility – a big investment bearing in mind the firm’s infancy in the US yogurt market.

A spokesperson for Muller Quaker Dairy told DairyReporter.com that the investment represents the high level of confidence it has in its newly-launched products.

“We invested $206m in the facility. Dairy is an attractive growth opportunity for PepsiCo. It’s one of the fastest growing food and beverage categories in the US, and per-capita consumption remains low,” said the Muller Quaker Dairy spokesperson.

“We are confident and have a variety of products that fulfil our unmet consumer needs and will develop our portfolio of products over time.”

“The joint venture between Müller Dairy and PepsiCo is an exciting one." 

In addition to the build, Muller Quaker Dairy plans to source its milk supply from US dairy farmers, with the majority of their supply coming from New York and the Northeast.

“The city of Batavia is a great agricultural community and this manufacturing facility will only serve to further build the community and the area’s capability in the dairy business. The community has shared with us that they are excited about the potential job opportunities with Muller Quaker Dairy and we are thrilled to be bringing jobs to the area,” the spokesperson added.

US popularity

Through their joint venture, PepsiCo and Müller hope to tap into increasing US demand for value-added dairy products.

The firm’s spokesperson added that the popularity of the Muller Quaker Dairy Facebook fan page is testament to how popular the three products are already with US consumers.

“We have comments posted each day about how much they love it and want to know when it will be available in their local supermarket. We have also noticed that people that have lived or travelled abroad and got a taste for Müller while in Europe or the United Kingdom are glad for it to have arrived here too.”

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