Camperdown Dairy-branded milk will disappear from supermarket shelves when its old factory closes, but the company says it is actually good news with production ramping up at its new site.
Australian Dairy Nutritionals Group chief executive officer Peter Skene said about three people would be made redundant when it shuts the doors on the former Camperdown Bonlac factory site in western Victoria.
Inflationary pressures and the impact of COVID-19 has been blamed for the demise of the product, with the company shifting its focus to producing powdered products at its brand new plant north of Camperdown.
"On the outside it sounds like a negative story but it's a positive one," Mr Skene said.
"We are moving out of a place that we currently lease into a place that we own and we're ramping up production in the new facility."
Mr Skene said Camperdown Dairy had moved into the old Bonlac site in 2010, and started the brand about six years ago.
Camperdown Dairy milk had been sold at 80 per cent of Woolworths stores across the state as well as coffee shops in Melbourne, Geelong and Ballarat.
READ MORE: Camperdown Dairy plans expansion
Mr Skene said since COVID-19, the company's future at the old site had been uncertain.
Prior to the pandemic, the site "looked like it had a reasonable future" but COVID-19 made it difficult to operate with staff issues and freight costs impacting the business.
Popularity of yoghurt products produced at the factory also took a dive.
"We were doing massive volumes of squeezies that kids would put in their lunchboxes... when COVID hit they virtually stopped. Likewise for little tubs," Mr Skene said.
The old factory also needs a "considerable" amount of money spent on maintenance and upgrades, he said.
"At the same time costs have gone through the roof," Mr Skene said.
The price of milk had jumped 25 to 30 per cent while packaging and freight costs had also risen.
"It's really been a lot of pressure," Mr Skene said.
With unemployment rates so low and job vacancies high, Mr Skene said if ever there was a time to close the facility it was probably now.
The company has spent the past two years investing $8 million in its new site on the corner of Geelong and Depot roads.
"It's a second-hand infant formula plant which is in very good condition that has been relocated from overseas and installed in a purpose-built facility," Mr Skene said.
"Really what we're doing is closing the old one and opening the new one at the same time."
The company started manufacturing organic A2 whole milk powder at its new site about two weeks ago, then a week later organic A2 skim milk powder.
"About a week ago, we started production of Australia's first organic A2 infant formula made with Australian milk directly from our farm," Mr Skene said.
The products would soon be canned before going onto Chemist Warehouse shelves across the country in September/October.
"There's lot of exciting things in the pipework for us," he said.
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