Wales’s oldest dairy co-op celebrates record sales

The growth follows a major £13.5m investment in the co-op's plant
The growth follows a major £13.5m investment in the co-op's plant

Wales’s oldest dairy co-operative is celebrating record sales of £52.9m as it sees growth in its customer base and farmer suppliers.

The co-op, South Caernarfon Creameries (SCC), saw a 17 percent increase in sales in the last financial year.

The Chwilog-based group, in the rural Llyn Peninsula, makes Dragon branded cheeses and butter and has increased production by 60 percent in the last couple of years.

The growth follows a major £13.5m investment to expand its production and packaging facilities in 2016.

SCC’s annual financial report just published for the year ending March 2019 show the company’s operating profit at £2.2m.

It comes after the staff team was expanded to 130 on top of £37m in payments to the co-op’s 130 farming members for their milk.

The dairy produces 14,000 tonnes of cheese a year using 100% Welsh milk from 130 farming members across north and mid Wales.

In order to support its ongoing growth, several new farmers have been signed up to supply the co-operative in the last year.

Alan Wyn Jones, Managing Director at South Caernarfon Creameries said: “Our business growth and success is the result of our staff and members’ hard work in producing high quality and innovative products and service to our customers”.

“Following major capital investment in recent years in our facilities our focus has been to maximise the operational capacity available to us whilst growing and developing a diverse and high-quality customer base.

“We now have a strong platform in place, a platform that we shall continue to build upon with the objective of providing our farmer members and staff a sustainable future.”

He added: “With the current political uncertainty having an impact on the markets that we serve, the current environmental is a challenging one but we remain focused on adding as much value as possible in all that we do.”

SCC was recently named as a Rural Business Awards (RBA) finalist in the Wales & Northern Ireland award in the Best Rural Food or Drink Business category, with the winner due to be announced in November.

The company has occupied the same base a Chwilog in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the rural Llyn Peninsula for more than 80 years.