Welsh dairy site set to become Europe's most green

The environmentally-friendly factory will support production of Welsh and continental cheeses
The environmentally-friendly factory will support production of Welsh and continental cheeses

A Welsh dairy processing site is set to become the most sustainable of its kind in Europe, all while producing 7,000 tons of cheese per year.

The Mona Island Dairy site, based on Anglesey, will run solely on renewable electricity as part of a £20m project that will also create 100 new jobs.

The factory will support production of Welsh and continental cheeses at the 25,000 sq ft facility, based on Mona Industrial Park, Holyhead.

The Welsh government has also provided a £3m grant to help the project become a reality.

Additional money in the form of loans and equity will contribute to the site conversion, which is due for completion this September.

When finished, the factory will be amongst the most modern anywhere in Europe, capable of producing 7,000 tons of cheese a year.

Managing Director Ronald Akkerman said the move would see turnover rise to £25 million by 2022 and set new standards for the industry.

The factory will look to blend innovative and traditional methods to create Cheddar, Gouda, Edam and a range of artisan cheeses using milk from local farms.

Mr Akkerman said: “The product range offered to the retail and food service sectors will be for restaurant menus, wholesalers and customers who will be able to choose the type of cheese, the fat content, the shape and have the option of selecting additional ingredients such as herbs and spices.

“This will result in premium own label products being produced in significant volumes or in relatively small batches.”

The cheese production line has been built to accommodate the company’s future growth ambitions.

Different milk streams can be processed into specific niche products, such as organic cheese.

Biodegradable wastes such as milk residue will be processed at the nearby Mona Biogas plant on Anglesey.

And all the process water will be recovered from the whey concentration, thereby minimising the intake of potable water.

“This will make it the most environmentally friendly factory in Europe, running completely on renewable electricity,” Mr Akkerman said.

He added that Mona Island Dairy will collaborate with customers to identify market trends, develop new products and create a distinct competitive advantage.

“This is the largest new development in the food sector in North Wales this year and is attracting an enormous amount of interest across the dairy and cheese industry.

“The focus will be to develop long-term partnerships with anchor customers and milk suppliers – it’s an exciting project, fantastic for the industry and the region,” he said.