Dairy co-op First Milk has lost its own-label cheddar contract with Morrisons – but says there will be no impact on its tie-up with Irish cheesemaker Adams Foods.

Lactalis McLelland has reportedly secured the deal to supply the supermarket with an estimated 6,000-12,000t of cheddar.

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First Milk, which has about 1,800 suppliers, sold the cheese in bulk to Morrisons, who cut and packaged the cheese at its Farmers Boy facility.

The pilot group of eight farmers who supply milk for Morrisons’ mild cheddar on a solids-based formula contract will not be affected, as the 12-month trial is due to be reviewed in July.

A First Milk spokesman said losing the contract would not affect the wider business, as the focus was now supplying cheese for Adams.

From 12 March, Adams will cut, pack and market hard cheeses produced at First Milk’s Lake District and Haverfordwest factories.

First Milk has licensed Adams to use its brands, such as The Lake District Dairy Co, and the co-op will sell cheese for export itself.

Chief executive Kate Allum said the relationship met the co-op’s objective of adding value to members’ milk sustainably.

“The partnership is a big piece of the jigsaw coming together in defining the strongest core base we have ever had as a business,” she said.

“Additionally, it will enable us to focus more of our time and resources on priority growth areas such as brand, development, lifestyle nutrition and exports.”