Organic dairy co-op launches new business with Somerset cheddar farm

The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative is partnering with Wyke Farms to take advantage of growing global demand

The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo) has launched a joint business entity with Somerset cheesemaker Wyke Farms.

They believe the venture, the British Organic Dairy Company, “will provide a more robust, yet flexible, operation to produce key organic dairy products, for domestic and global markets”.

Wyke Farms is a family-run company based in Somerset, where the Clothier family have been making cheddar since 1861, while OMSCo is a co-operative owned and run by organic dairy farmers.

“In July, we announced that we were forming a partnership with Wyke Farms,” said OMSCo’s managing director Richard Hampton. “The partnership, within which we both have an equal share, provides us with a focus to grow organic dairy opportunities together.

“The launch of our business-to-business brand is an exciting development and will enable us to facilitate the sales and marketing of our products under a joint brand identity.”

Both companies said they want to vertically integrate to produce a guaranteed supply of high-quality, good-value organic dairy products around the world.

“By working with Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheesemaker, we can provide a unique proposition to distributors and retailers and take advantage of growing markets,” added Mr Hampton.

He added that OMSCo has proven expertise in producing organic milk to specific export standards and already has EU, USDA and Chinese certification.

“Through the partnership, Wyke Farms will source all their organic milk requirements from ourselves, providing a flexible, yet guaranteed, supply of organic milk. And in turn, we will also take a share in the ownership of bulk organic cheddar stocks.”

Richard Clothier, managing director and third-generation family member at Wyke Farms, said the company is excited about the opportunities the partnership, and subsequent joint identity, presents.

“We know that global demand for organic dairy is growing, but we’re also aware of domestic opportunities,” he added. “For instance, the UK organic cheese category is currently underperforming relative to overall organic dairy, with just 1% market share within cheese, compared to 5% in liquid milk and 8.5% in yoghurt.”

He said this is down to supply chain issues – such poor quality driving low repeat purchases, sporadic supply and a relatively costly supply chain but added that the partnership could help deal with these problems.

“Having a guaranteed supply of organic milk and mutual focus on growing the category will enable us to increase our stock levels and produce more cost-effective products,” he said. “This will create a solid platform to grow sales of organic dairy products and enable us to reach the potential of a growing world market, now and post-Brexit.

“The alliance brings together quality and excellence in organic dairy production, from the world’s second largest 100% organic milk producer, combined with award-winning cheddar quality from Wyke Farms; the most sustainable cheese maker in the world – it really is a world-beating collaboration.”

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