South Caernarfon Creameries opens its new cheese production unit

South Caernarfon Creameries has opened its new cheese production with its first production having taken place last week. The new build, which is located at the Creameries’ site in Chwilog, near Pwllheli, has created an efficient, modern and flexible cheese production facility that will enable the famer co-operative to increase capacity from 9,500 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes of cheese per annum.

South Caernarfon’s new unit is the first major cheese production new build in the UK for 40 years and the investment goes against current trends in the UK dairy industry. A report by agricultural consultants Promar International states that the UK dairy industry has the lowest level of investment compared to the 6 largest European exporting countries¹.

South Caernarfon’s new cheese production unit is an all-encompassing facility that will greatly improve operational efficiencies for the co-operative. The new plant will, in turn, allow greater product flexibility, enabling the Creamery to produce different types of cheese to bespoke customer specifications and enable further product innovation for its customers and for the Creameries’ own Dragon brand.  

Alan Wyn Jones, Managing Director at South Caernarfon Creameries said “Although it’s currently a very challenging period for both milk producers and processors, it is vital that we continue to invest for the future.”

“Our new cheese factory provides us with best-in-class production facilities that will further support our growth strategy with both existing and new customers. Our objective now is to get the new factory to its full processing capacity as quickly as possible and that will be achieved in partnership with our key customers and our product innovation programme. We have also during last year recruited a number of new Welsh member farmers in preparation for the new production unit.”

As well as safeguarding the current 100 jobs, this investment has also benefited the local community, with the building contract awarded to local company Derwen Llyn of Pwllheli. 

South Caernarfon Creameries is owned by its 125 Welsh farmer member suppliers. John Gwynant Hughes, of Ynysgain Fawr, Criccieth, one of its farmer members commented “We are proud supplying members and owners of SCC and are pleased that the business is forward-thinking and investing in our future which gives us as dairy farmers’ confidence in what is a very challenging period”.  

If the Company achieves its growth objectives, a second investment phase is planned to be open in the next few years that will further increase cheese production to 17,000 tonnes per annum.

The new cheese production unit will be officially opened in the summer of 2016.



Images: selection of images attached of new production unit

Report by Promar International, published 3 May 2016:

According to Promar, dairy companies in the six largest European exporting countries have invested over €5bn in high profile capital investments in recent years. Converting this into spend for every litre of milk produced in the country, shows just how little has been invested in the UK compared with the other key countries. In their “European Dairy Industry Towards 2020” report, Promar references €468m investment in the UK between 2011 and 2015, compared with €1.4bn in Germany and €785m in Ireland. Converting this into pence per litre (based on a 4-year average exchange rate and annual milk volumes), shows the six-country investment averaged 4.1ppl. Ireland led the way at 9.9ppl, while the UK was bottom of the chart at just 2.4ppl. What is even more alarming is that most of the investment in the UK was to replace old liquid sites, which, while bringing efficiency savings, has not helped the country deal with the extra milk currently bring produced. 

Lesley Parr

Splat Marketing & PR

07754 482139 / 01538 381884


South Caernarfon Creameries is Wales’ largest and oldest farmer-owned dairy co-operative with around 125 member supplier farmers who are located across North and North West Wales. South Caernarfon Creameries produces exceptional quality Welsh cheese and Welsh butter for major retailers and under their own 'Dragon' brand that have been recognised by major awards. Available from local Welsh stores through to major multiples across the UK and also internationally.

In early 2016 South Caernarfon Creameries’ Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar won the Best Dairy Product 2016 at the Food Management Today Industry Awards for their Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar. This cheese was developed exclusively for Sainsbury’s and in conjunction with Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog. It is sold nationally throughout the UK under their Taste the Difference brand in retail and deli format. 


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