Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheese producers and producers of renewable energy, today announce the completion of their new export ‘centre of excellence’ based in Wincanton, Somerset.
The centre includes a significant increase in cheese maturing capacity with an additional 2500 tonnes of cheddar stocks being aged on site to support the increase demand for our flagship 18-month-old Ivy’s Vintage cheddar across the world. The site also has increased cheese despatch storage to allow the company to consolidate cheese container orders prior to export in a post Brexit world, as well as and a long-life packing line for cheese exports. There is also a respectful nod to the company’s heritage with a cheese making museum incorporating retired cheese making equipment from the past 200 years.
Supported by a £1.3 million food processing grant under the governments RDPE growth program, which provides funding for projects in England that create jobs and support growth in the rural economy. This energy efficient facility also includes a new chilled dispatch store that allows central distribution for larger customers and consolidation of complex multi-product export orders, saving secondary storage and road miles in the UK and overseas.
Paul Caldwell, RPA Chief Executive, said: “The RPA is pleased to have been able to support this project through funding from the Growth Programme. The investment brings much needed additional export capability and job creation to Wyke Farm’s cheese processing facility. Just as importantly, it offers increased stability to the dairy farmers who supply the milk that goes into the cheese at a difficult time for the sector.”
Built to the highest environmental standards, including solar, heat recovery and air sourced heat pumps, the expansion accommodates an additional high-speed cutting and packing line for increased volume and longer life cheese packs for overseas export markets.
Rich Clothier, Managing Director and third generation family member at Wyke Farms, said: “This investment, supported by the RDPE growth program is vital in preparing our business to service our growing export markets across the world. Built to the highest environmental standards this export hub will allow us to continue to export more of my grandmothers Ivy’s Vintage cheddar to over 160 countries in a post Brexit world, in the most environmentally responsible way helping to secure jobs and livelihoods of people in Somerset, the heart of Cheddar.”
Wyke Farms’ continual investment and commitment to green energy forms part of the companies ‘100% Green’ sustainability plan, through which, they have dramatically reduced their carbon footprint and become the first national cheddar brand to be 100% self-sufficient using their own energy generated from solar and biogas. This latest development is all part of Wyke Farms’ journey to become a net positive cheese business.
Wyke Farms’ cheese and butter is made with the milk from their cows grazing the lush pastures of the Mendip Hills in the centre of the Cheddar making region in Somerset.
Wyke Farms products are available in selected Lidl stores and in South West UK ASDA, CO-OP and Tesco stores. All products are available online at: www.wykefarms.com/shop.