UK milk buyer, Dairy Crest is investing £85m into its cheese business, £75m of which will be ploughed into the Davidstow creamery.
The cash injection means Dairy Crest will be able to process an extra 200m litres of milk a year, culminating in a 43% increase in cheese production capacity to 77,000t/year, over the next four-to-five years.
This will also lead to a proportionate growth of the company’s whey production site, indicating Dairy Crest’s sights are set firmly on the global infant formula market.
Increasing the production capacity for company’s two leading brands, Cathedral City and Davidstow is also a direct response to the burgeoning domestic cheese market, as well as those of Europe, China, the US and the Far East.
Money spent at the Davidstow plant will also be used to reduce the environmental impact of the creamery, increasing the amount of water recycled on site as well as increasing its energy efficiency.
Both dairy processors and producers have significantly reduced their environmental footprint over the past decade, as highlighted in the 10th anniversary report from the Dairy Roadmap – a cross-industry initiative that aims to improve the environmental sustainability of the UK dairy sector.
The partnership we have with our farmers is absolutely crucial to our business and this investment should give them the confidence to invest in their own businesses, increase their productivity and enhance their important role in protecting the rural environment Mark Allen, Dairy Crest chief executive
“Dairy Crest is proud of the role it plays in the economy of the South West, and this £85m investment is a vote of confidence in the Cathedral City brand, our employees and our farmers, said Dairy Crest chief executive, Mark Allen.
“The partnership we have with our farmers is absolutely crucial to our business and this investment should give them the confidence to invest in their own businesses, increase their productivity and enhance their important role in protecting the rural environment.”
Mr Allen added minimising the impact the Davidstow Creamery has on the environment was an important part of being a responsible member of the community.
“This is good news for the economy of the South West and for Britain’s farming sector. We hope this investment will increase confidence and resilience when and where it is needed most.”
What does this mean for farmers?
Chris Thomson, Dairy Crest procurement director
“We believe achieving the 200m litres across the next four or five years is achievable using our existing 330 producers.
“We are currently in discussion with Dairy Crest Direct [DCD] and our dairy farmers to put a plan in place on how to facilitate this expansion.
“Today is not an announcement of a recruitment drive at all – we are always conducting a little recruitment, but the opportunity here is for existing producers.
“The timeframe means that if in a year or two we need to look at bringing more farmers onboard, we can do that.”