Müller Milk & Ingredients is set to reduce plastic use by 400 tonnes per year by simplifying its range of fresh milk and cream products.

Muller Milk lorry

The company’s new sku (stock keeping unit) rationalisation programme could see the brand pare down its 835 fresh milk and cream products - manufactured across its network of six dairies - by up to 40%.

The focus will be on cutting the amount of smaller, unusual and less common skus currently sold under the Muller brand, which tend to be less efficient to manufacture and move through the supply chain.

Patrick Muller, ceo of Müller Milk & Ingredients, explained: “At a typical dairy more than 90% of the milk we buy from farms is manufactured into less than 80 different product formats, meeting customer requirements for different milk types, pack sizes and labelling formats.

“At the same dairy, the remaining 10% of milk would be processed into a further 125 sku formats, which is staggering. Typically this milk will be packed into smaller or unusual formats which tend to be far less efficient not only in terms of manufacturing, but through the whole supply chain.

He added: “The environmental cost of persisting with some of these less common skus is significant, requiring our dairies to halt production whilst pack formats are changed for very small production runs, causing unacceptably high levels of product waste, energy use and complexity throughout our business.”