Dairy Crest is a leading British dairy company producing and selling market-leading branded dairy products and value-added ingredients for the UK and global markets.
Its products are household names – from Cathedral City cheddar, the UK’s No.1 cheese brand, to Country Life butter. 330 south-west dairy farmers work closely with the company to supply around 500 million litres of milk every year to its Cornish creamery. Less well known perhaps amongst consumers is the newer and growing arm of the Dairy Crest business – Functional Ingredients.
Dairy Crest’s Functional Ingredients division produces and sells demineralised whey and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) – both ingredients for infant formula. In partnership with Fonterra, the world’s leading dairy exporter, these products are sold to infant formula manufacturers globally under Fonterra’s SureStartTM brand name. Demineralised whey is added to infant formula as a protein and carbohydrate source for growth and development. GOS is a prebiotic which has been shown to support the baby’s natural defences, increase mineral absorption and aid digestive comfort.
From “little ones” to livestock nutrition
In addition to infant formula, Dairy Crest is exploring additional uses for GOS as an ingredient in the adult food market and, importantly, animal nutrition.
GOS is a well-known probiotic and can provide significant health benefits in animals, such as improved animal welfare, productivity and the potential to reduce the requirement for antibiotic use. Evidence suggests that, when eliminating or limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock, prebiotics can improve feed conversion ratios, increase average daily gain and enhance animal welfare.
Dairy Crest has an extensive R&D programme in place which includes efficacy trials to understand the impact of GOS in several animals, including poultry, piglets and calves. Nutrabiotic® GOS is Dairy Crest’s brand name for GOS in animal nutrition applications. Academic and farm trials using Nutrabiotic® GOS in chicken and piglet feed have shown potential benefits. These include over 10% increase in weight gain, over 10% improvement in feed efficiency, greater beneficial bacterial counts and improved nutrient absorption. In poultry, these potential benefits also included a reduction in Campylobacter contamination.
CIEL and Dairy Crest
Dairy Crest has joined CIEL as an Industry Member, recognising the benefits of being part of CIEL’s extensive knowledge network.
Membership of CIEL presents Dairy Crest with a new level expertise and capability to support their research and development. Designed to enhance and accelerate business-led innovation, the CIEL network offers members direct access to additional technical knowledge and skills, facilities and potential collaborative partners.
Expertise across the CIEL network encompasses all key areas of interest for Dairy Crest, supported by world-class research facilities.
CIEL’s hub of dairy expertise includes an internationally-leading dairy science research facility based at the University of Nottingham. The Centre for Dairy Science Innovation allows studies with up to 100 individually-fed, highyielding dairy cows and heifers to test the effect of a range of diets on milk production and composition, feed intake and live-weight change – developing guidelines for precision nutrition of cows.
The Precision Grassland Dairying Platform at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) extends research capability in the areas of grazing in addition to indoor feeding systems to promote better management of grasslands
Dairy ensuring animals convert grass into milk efficiently and sustainably. Dedicated calf and youngstock research facilities enable investigations into feed digestion and metabolism in young and adult cattle.
A further innovative milking facility being developed at Duchy College’s North Wyke Farm Platform in Devon will provide essential information for the precision management of grazing dairy cattle. Studies here will help define the attributes of robust cows that can sustain high productivity and inform economic evaluation of management techniques and interventions.
Steve Harris, Agricultural Manager at Dairy Crest, explained the motivation behind joining CIEL as an Industry Member:
“Dairy Crest is a highly innovative company, always bringing new products to market and introducing new ways of working across the business. This strive to innovate also lends itself to the close relationship we have with our 330 farmers which supply us with around 500 million litres of milk each year.
“As the first dairy company to become a member, joining CIEL will enable us to further expand our knowledge that keeps us at the forefront of farming developments. The prospect of working with CIEL and drawing on its available expertise should benefit Dairy Crest, our farmers and CIEL members alike. An exciting opportunity awaits.”
Find out more about CIEL membership