South Caernarfon Creameries (SCC), a farmer-owned dairy co-op based in Gwynedd, was named Large Business of the Year in North Wales at the Daily Post Business Awards.
It’s the latest in a row of awards for Wales’s oldest dairy co-op, which has picked up 70 cheese and butter making awards this year, including three gold global prizes at the International Cheese and Dairy Awards.
A year of growth helped it to its business awards win, with a 17% increase in turnover and a 20% rise in profits to £4.1m.
Marketing manager Kirstie Jones said: “It is really fantastic for us, it shows our growth has been good and is positive for us going forward.
“For that to be recognised is really good for us as a business to help secure more cheese sales and it all helps with building our profile in domestic and international markets.”
Farmer director Gareth Jenkins added: “It has not been easy over Covid but has been a team effort with all the farmer owners – 154 of us.
“We supply the quality milk to the factory and we have excellent staff and management there. Congratulations to all the team.”
Managing director Alan Wyn Jones said: “Our strategic objective over the next few years is to achieve a five per cent operating profit, which is above average in the sector.
“We pride ourselves on producing Welsh cheese of exceptional quality and we have all of the required national accreditations in place to exceed standards and provide peace of mind for our customers, thanks to an AA rating from the British Retail Consortium and Red Tractor Farm Assurance.
“Once the milk is collected all the cheese is produced and packed on site, giving us complete control over the process.
“We’re proud of our Welsh roots, so much so that we have a policy to only process Welsh milk and use the Welsh language on our packaging.
“The creamery’s flagship Dragon brand now makes up 10 per cent of the business and we have plans to increase this over the coming years.
“As part of our growth strategy, we are collaborating with other Welsh brands including Halen Môn, Penderyn whisky, Tregroes Waffles and Jones o Gymru.
“We have also recently renewed a partnership with the legendary Scarlets rugby club in Llanelli to help build up brand recognition in South Wales.
“Overall, the business is performing strongly and there is huge potential for future growth which in turn will help boost the rural economy of Wales.”
SCC, which has 165 staff and 154 dairy farmer members, plans to build on this success with Project Dragon, a £21.5m, five-year growth plan, backed by £5m in funding from the Welsh government’s Food Investment Scheme.
It hopes to increased annual production from 17,000 to 23,000 tonnes of cheese under the plans, which include new milk reception facilities, additional cheese making capacity and new packing lines as continued investment in environmental and energy performance.