This September, a new and fully-equipped pilot Dairy facility opens at The Food WorksSW, the region’s food innovation hub near J21 of the M5 between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol.
Food WorksSW’ Senior Technical Manager Rachel Goff, said, “Dairy farming, processing and food production are big business in the South West, with renowned brands and world-famous production regions such as Cheddar on our doorstep.
“When our industry-standard Dairy opens in September, companies of all sizes can hire it for anything from a half day to several weeks. It’s designed for batch and trial runs, research and development work (R&D), workshops and training sessions.”
Zoe Plant is the food hub’s New Product Development and Innovation Manager. Zoe said, “Whether you’re a start-up or sole trader with big ideas to trial, or a global brand needing access to food-grade dairy facilities and demonstration kitchens without interrupting your own production lines, our Dairy is for you. It’s kitted out to develop, test and make products including hard and soft cheeses, ricotta (from whey), yoghurt, kefir, milk products, drinks, ice-cream and gelato, plus their dairy-free and plant-based equivalents.
“This bespoke pilot plant was designed and commissioned by Yeovil-based Watly Engineering. Its top-of-the-range equipment includes a 500-litre jacketed tank with plated heat exchanger for pasteurisation; a high shear pump; a homogenizer; a 250-litre holding tank, a 200-litre cheese vat; cheese moulds; cheese cutting equipment; and two ice-cream machines – one for dairy and one for plant-based products. There’s also an automated ‘clean-in-place’ (CIP) system to maintain industry-standard hygiene levels.”
According to Dairyuk.org*, 74,000 people work in dairy processing sites and at dairy farms across the UK. The country’s 12,000 dairy farmers produce 15 billion litres of milk annually, with dairy products worth over £9bn at wholesale alone. British cheeses – of which Cheddar remains the favourite – are found in the fridges of 94% of UK adults, with latest Defra figures showing that dairy purchases are increasing**. The UK’s innovative dairy produce industry is fourth in Europe for the number of newly launched products*.
The Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show 2022 organisers, ice-cream.org, suggest there are over 1,000 artisan ice-cream makers in the UK, in addition to regular large-scale producers. Food WorksSW’ pilot Dairy facility is already generating strong interest from the regional and international market.
Zoe said, “We are delighted to announce that Mallorca’s premier artisanal gelato makers, Bo Bom Gelato, has moved from Palma to its new headquarters here at The Food WorksSW. Since moving its laboratory to our state-of-the-art facilities, Bo Bom has already created more innovative signature flavours – including dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options – using the region’s rich, fresh local produce and ingredients.”
“Kinda Co., the plant-based cheese company, is an up-and-coming brand we’re thrilled to have as new tenants. Founder Ellie launched her start-up out of a tiny London flat and now has two units at Food WorksSW. Kinda Co. crafts 12 varieties of dairy-free cheese, sold online and via independents nationwide.”
Zoe explained, “We can train users on the correct usage of the Dairy equipment; offer recipe, ingredient, labelling and costing advice; and give support in choosing suppliers and distributors.”
The Food WorksSW staff are preparing to host more tours, open events, workshops and dairy demonstrations. Covid guidelines permitting, the pilot Dairy will also be available to hire for related workshops, demos and courses.
Book the Dairy or a tour of The Food WorksSW.
The pilot Dairy facility can be rented on a half-day or daily basis between 8.00am and 5.00pm from Monday to Friday. A free half-day trial is available on request for all new users. All of the hub’s independent food-grade units are now taken. Contact us to join a waiting list or for up-to-date information at any time, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01934 315381.
Visit: www.foodworks-sw.co.uk for more information.