Developing digital connectivity

Dairy Chain

The Digital Dairy Chain project will deliver an uplift in the rural economies of Cumbria and South-West Scotland. It will establish the region as a leader in advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy manufacturing.

What the project will do

We will develop a fully integrated and traceable dairy supply chain by innovating novel technologies, infrastructure, and optimised manufacturing processes.

We will generate opportunities to improve sustainability, reduce carbon emissions and develop new products and markets.

Develop Digital Connectivity

for a value-added milk processing supply chain

Stimulate Research & Development

by providing state-of-the-art infrastructure, expertise and funding.

Provide Support

for early ventures, scale-up businesses, and established companies to undertake New Product Development and process improvement.

Attract talent and foster a skills pipeline

so that new technologies and market opportunities can be exploited.

Increasing value for the dairy industry

Funded through UKRI’s flagship Strength in Places programme, the Digital Dairy Chain offers a range of services to support innovation and growth.


Regional grant funding programme for collaborative R&D between researchers, businesses and technology providers.


Structured support to help businesses develop technology solutions to challenges in dairy production, transport and manufacturing.


World-class research facilities and expertise, combined with modern maker-spaces for new product and process development.


Raising awareness of opportunities in high-tech dairy manufacture, and aligning industry needs with skills provision.


First of a kind Technology Demonstrator that digitally connects the whole dairy supply chain from grass to glass.

Dairy Facts…

The UK is the third-largest milk producer in Europe and eleventh in the world. It produces 14.9 billion litres each year, with a farm-gate value of £3.7 billion.

Most UK-produced milk is supplied to manufacturers who process and package it for liquid consumption (47.5%) or process it into value-added products (50.6%). UK dairy processors deliver a gross value added (GVA) of £1.8 billion.

Cumbria and South-West Scotland is the UK’s second largest milk field, producing 1.9 billion litres each year, with a farm-gate value of £750 million. There are 52 dairy manufacturing businesses adding value to milk produced from 1,300 farms.

Global demand is expected to grow by around 5% per annum to 2025. The UK is cost competitive and well placed to take advantage of emerging markets. Processors have made significant capital investment (£867M in five years), pursuing innovation strategies and new market opportunities.

global demand

UK consumers spend £9.5 billion on dairy products. Food service and food manufacturing industries also purchase dairy products. Exports are an important part of the UK dairy market and new trading relationships will influence domestic markets and prices. Exports of UK dairy products are worth £1.4 billion.


UK Exports by Value (£)

Source: HMRC 2021
The fantastic work the Digital Dairy Value-Chain is doing shows that science and innovation is not just for Silicon Valley start-ups.
Amanda Solloway

UK Science Minister

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Our Partners
Our partners and stakeholders are drawn from research, business and civic leadership. Scroll through to see who is involved.