The work of a Fakenham dessert factory is an example of what needs to be done to help the dairy industry grow, a minister has said.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson praised the Hain Daniels factory during a visit to the Holt Road site on Friday.
The £20 million plant, which opened last year in a joint development with Sainsbury’s, employs around 350 people to produce chilled desserts for the supermarket chain.
And Mr Paterson believes such initiatives are vital to help close a huge trade gap between what is made in Britain and what is imported from abroad.
He said: “Despite having the expertise, climate and work ethic, we currently import half our cheese, butter and yoghurt. That’s up to £1.2 billion worth of dairy products which we could make ourselves.
“Sainsbury’s has taken a welcome step towards reversing the trade deficit at its dessert factory in Fakenham. Investments like this show that there’s real business appetite to boost the UK dairy industry.”
The government has been working with the National Farmers’ Union and industry leaders on a growth plan, which is due to be published shortly and aims to close the sector’s trade gap by 2025.