115 years after the Dairy Milk chocolate bar was launched, its production will almost entirely be in Bournville thanks to a £15 million investment in new production line facilities

Written by Jennifer Prince
Last updated
Images by Korng Sok

From 2022, the new investment will mean an extra 125 million bars will be produced at the Bournville factory, adding 12,000 tonnes of capacity onto the existing 35,000 tonnes of Cadbury Dairy Milk already made each year. 

Of the £15 million investment to increase the efficiency of chocolate manufacture, approximately £11 million will be spent on the production line, and £4 million will go towards increasing the capacity for chocolate making. Louise Stigant (UK Managing Director) explained the necessity of this investment is ‘to meet current demand and anticipate future needs.’

Previously, approximately two thirds of Cadbury’s chocolate was made in Birmingham, but the owners of the Cadbury brand, Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft), are moving some Easter egg production to a partner company named Magna. This will facilitate making more Dairy Milk bars in Bournville that would usually be produced at other sites across Europe.

Although, some Cadbury Dairy Milk bars will continue to be produced in Ireland, Germany, Hungary and Poland, the company remarked that they ‘now have an opportunity at Bournville to further invest in its future as the home and heart of Cadbury by bringing more Cadbury Dairy Milk production to Bournville.’

The Bournville factory was opened in 1879 by sons George and Richard Cadbury

Another advantage of the role is that it allows at least 40 seasonal workers to take on full-time roles at the site, which currently employs 1,300 people out of the 4,000-total employed by the company in the UK. However, no new jobs will be created, and 13 staff will have the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy.

Before becoming a famous household name and giant of the chocolate industry, Cadbury’s humble beginnings began in 1824 when John Cadbury opened a grocery shop on Bull Street in what is now Birmingham’s city centre. 

The Bournville factory was opened in 1879 by sons George and Richard Cadbury, thanks to a Royal Warrant. This led to the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk in 1905, but the recipe remains unchanged today, with ‘a glass and a half of fresh milk’ in each bar, sourced from British and Irish farmers. 

Today, the site is home to Mondalēz international’s Global Centre of Excellence for chocolate research and development, meaning it is the place where all Cadbury products are invented. 

Each day the Bournville factory produces 5.5 million Cadbury Dairy Milk blocks, 400 Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons and over one million Wispa bars. 

Ahead of Cadbury’s 200th anniversary in 2024, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the investment, writing on Twitter: ‘Dairy Milk has been a firm favourite for generations, so it’s fantastic to see this Great British brand making more chocolate bars in its historic Birmingham home.’ 

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