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History: A condensed version

Up until the middle of the 20th century not all families had refrigerators in their homes to keep milk fresh. Dairies frequently delivered milk straight from the cow, warm, unpasteurized and not always free from contaminants. Tinned milk was the only option for consumers that wanted the nutritional benefits of cow’s milk without the health risks.

It’s difficult to imagine now, but at one time tinned milk was one of the most purchased grocery items in Britain. When Nestlé first started selling milk products in the UK (all the way back in 1868) the milk came from Swiss dairies, but soon the demand for tinned milk was so high that they had to open milk condenseries in other countries.

Tutbury

Our Tutbury factory was one of the first factories to be built by Nestlé in the UK in 1901. In those days milk would arrive from neighbouring farms in metal churns on the back of a steam-powered wagon and leave in tin cans via the dedicated railway siding.

factory car and group of men

During the Second World War production of condensed milk was limited and the factory was turned over instead to packing powdered eggs and Red Cross food parcels.

A new purpose

Over time the popularity of tinned milk waned, and the Tutbury factory had to re-invent itself. The factory had a full year shutdown in 1958 and was virtually knocked down and rebuilt for its new purpose…

Instant coffee production began on 9th June 1959 and there were 150 employees working at the old milk factory. Now, there are there are just under 1000 people in highly skilled jobs in manufacturing and engineering.

By 1984 the Tutbury factory was manufacturing 6,000 tonnes of coffee a day, in a dizzying array of varieties, including Nescafé Original, decaffeinated, and Fine Blend.

Now and the future

The 21st century saw an exponential rise in the number of cafés in the UK, which created an increased appetite for cappuccinos, lattes, and barista-style coffees. The British public were ready for a new twist to their old classic cup of coffee, and Nestlé met the challenge by launching the Nescafé Dolce Gusto ‘coffee shop at home system’ in 2006; a machine that can create barista-style beverages from clean, easy to use pods.

nestle condensed milk can on the dark blue background

Within three years of Dolce Gusto’s launch the Tutbury factory had become of key strategic importance to Nestlé globally as one of only two centres around the world producing the Dolce Gusto capsules; and it produced them at a whopping rate of 4 million pods per day. As the Nescafé Dolce Gusto brand continued to grow and exports increased globally in November 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron visited the factory to mark the announcement of a £110 million investment into the Nescafé Dolce Gusto manufacturing facility to expanding production capacity and create 300 new jobs.

By the end of 2016 there had been £325 million invested in the factory transforming the once small dairy into a Coffee Centre of Excellence housing all forms of coffee production including freeze dried, spray dried and pod technology together on one site and employing almost 1,000 people.