Holistic approach to sustainability on UK dairy plant, Meadow Foods with Alfa Laval MBR membranes

The UK-based dairy company Meadow Foods is the UK’s largest independently owned dairy group and leading supplier of quality dairy ingredients to the food industry. Its main office is located in Chester, close to the Welsh border, in an idyllic landscape. This site receives and treats 1.5 million litres of milk daily – working in close partnership with farmers to ensure sustainable farming is at the centre of their production. Alfa Laval MBR membranes underpin holistic approach to sustainability on the UK dairy plant.

DATE 2023-11-28


Photo courtesy of Meadow Foods


The company is an award-winning dairy producer and has a dedicated and strong approach to being environmentally responsible. This, of course, includes managing their wastewater. Their Sustainability Report states:

Waste reduction continues to be challenged. Each site discharges wastewater to either an on-site treatment facility or direct to sewer. Wastewater is monitored and targeted to reduce Kg/COD per tonne of product.”


The WWTP of the Meadow Foods at Chester built in 2015 by Cap Technology


Alfa Laval UK partnered with Cap Technology in 2015 to deliver the best possible solution to the Chester dairy. Cap Technology with its strong experience in wastewater treatment chose Alfa Laval’s MBR membrane solution for its compact technology and the high quality of the treated effluent. The simplicity of the gravity-operated membranes combined with the very low amount of cleaning chemicals required, made the Alfa Laval MBR membranes a very attractive solution.


The operators control both the dairy processing plant and the MBR remotely. Since the plant was commissioned in 2015, the customer has mapped and clearly understood how the different process streams impact on the performance of the MBR. In the last five years, by optimizing the release and composition of the process streams to the MBR, they have reduced the amount of cleaning required by more than half compared to the initial operation, while increasing their production.

The MBR installation has given us confidence in the discharged waters to river, improving our discharge contaminants to low levels previously unseen. The simple operation of the plant now allows our focus to shift towards stopping waste going to drain as we have the confidence of the system. Operating costs have vastly reduced since the plant was installed and the MBR filters have been a pleasure to operate, with little involvement from any operators.”

-- Alun Lewis – Head of Conformance & Sustainability





Key dates:

  • 1992: Meadow Foods is founded as a farmer-backed dairy business selling dairy products as ingredients to markets in the UK and Europe
  • 2015: Installation of the MBR plant at Chester site
  • 2020: Construction of the plant-based dairy line on site


Key figures:

  • Meadow Foods receives 1.5 million litres of milk per day from 650 farms.