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Dairy Crest announces £85 million investment

By James Pugh | Telford | Business | Published:

Dairy firm Dairy Crest, which has its innovation centre at Harper Adams University, is investing £85 million in growing the capacity of its cheese business.

The now demolished creamery site at Crudgington

The company, which closed its former Crudgington creamery site near Telford in 2015, announced £75 million of the investment will be used at its Davidstow creamery in Cornwall.

The investment will allow further growth of the company's cheese brands Cathedral City and Davidstow.

It will also enable Dairy Crest to process an additional 200 million litres of milk every year, increasing the company's annual cheese production capacity from 54,000 tonnes to 77,000 tonnes over the next four to five years.

The firm said the increase in capacity at Davidstow, which employs around 200 people, will enable it to respond to the growing cheese market in the UK, including convenience and snacking products, and on growing demand internationally in Europe, China, the US and the Far East.

It also said the investment is good news for the 330 dairy farmers in Devon and Cornwall who supply Dairy Crest.

The company wants to work closely with these farmers to grow milk volumes which will create a further boost for the region's rural economy.

In close consultation with its independent dairy producer organisation, Dairy Crest Direct, the company has recently introduced a new milk pricing schedule which will be simpler to manage and will reward those farmers who supply milk with the most suitable composition for the manufacture of the company's cheeses and demineralised whey.

Dairy Crest has also invested in its farm business team, which liaises directly with farmers, to support them at this time of growth.

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The investment in Davidstow will also reduce the environmental impact of the creamery by reducing significantly its water usage, increasing the amount of water recycled back into the creamery and becoming more energy resilient.

Mark Allen, CEO of Dairy Crest, said: "Dairy Crest is proud of the role it plays in the economy of the south west, and this £85 million investment is a vote of confidence in the Cathedral City brand, our employees and our farmers. 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.

"As a major local employer, we are committed to being a responsible member of the community in Davidstow, and we have planned this investment carefully to minimise the impact of our creamery on the local environment and to become self-sufficient in water use. This is good news for the economy of the south west and for Britain's farming sector. We hope that this investment will increase confidence and resilience when and where it is needed most."

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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