Objective One boost for Cornish dairy sector
A Cornish dairy firm is to get European support for a major expansion to help it take a much larger stake in the UK soft cheese market in a move expected to be worth £7 million to the local economy.
Newquay-based Cornish Country Larder produces a range of cows and goats milk soft and semi-hard cheeses, such as St Endellion Cornish Brie and Cornish Organic Brie, and supplies major retailers as well as wholesalers and delicatessens.
Now, the firm is to launch a £2.3 million expansion programme with the help of a £462,000 European grant approved through the Objective One Programme and £462,000 in funding from DEFRA.
Roger Metcalf from Objective One's Agriculture Development Team helped the Newquay firm develop their successful funding bid. He said: "This project is a significant boost for the dairy industry in Cornwall.
"As cheese production increases, the number of farms supplying milk to Cornish Country Larder will increase to around 25 and the volume of milk used will rise from around 2 million litres a year now to around 12 million litres a year by 2007.
Roger added: "We estimate this project will generate nearly £7 million in additional income for the area - which will have an obvious benefit for both local businesses and jobs."
The project will involve expanding the firm's existing dairy at Trevarrian, installing new equipment - including pre-ripening tanks, a continuous curd maker - and support with staff training, product promotion and publicity.
The building expansion will enable the firm to install new ripening rooms and cold storage facilities, while the installation of new equipment will allow production levels, quality standards and efficiency levels to increase
John Gaylard, managing director of Cornish Country Larder said that the firm, which was set up in 1997, had outgrown its existing, inadequate facilities, leaving them unable to meet growing demand for their cheese. Lack of space had also forced them to contract out production of goat's cheese to a Somerset firm.
John said: "This expansion will make an enormous difference and would not have been possible without Objective One help. This will really strengthen the firm and secure its future for a number of years.
"Following the installation of the new production line this year, we will be able to double output of our soft mould-ripened cheeses. We will then continue to expand on a progressive basis over the next five years and by 2006 aim to have a significant share of the total UK market for speciality and mould ripened cheeses.
"To do that we will obviously need a growing volume of milk from local farms, and using that milk to create products that will greatly increase demand for Cornish quality cheeses.
"Cornish Country Larder is also aiming to develop new cheeses that will enhance the reputation of Cornwall as a producer of high quality added value branded foods.”
Picture of John Gaylard surrounded by Cornish Organic Brie available from Apex Photo Agency, on 01392 824024; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD