Cornwall puts millions into local cheese

Wednesday 3rd March 2021 12:30 pm
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The Cathedral City Times Square ad in New York

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ONE of the UK’s best known cheeses, produced at Davidstow, has received a £3.2-million investment from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) boosting production.

The LEP’s grant from the government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ is supporting the multi-million pound expansion of the world-class Saputo Dairy UK creamery in Davidstow to increase production of cheddar and ingredients for infant formula.

Davidstow employs more than 200 people and is home to the famous ‘Cathedral City’ cheddar brand which has annual sales of more than £300-million and is found in more than half of all UK household fridges.

The cheese is made from 100% local milk, directly supporting around 330 dairy farmers across Cornwall and the South West.

Last year the business started selling Cathedral City to the Canadian and US markets for the first time, helped by a major media campaign which included an 8,500 square foot digital billboard standing 18 stories tall in Times Square in New York.

The LEP’s investment in plant and machinery at Davidstow will help increase capacity for cheese production and by-products like demineralised whey, and reduce the environmental footprint of the creamery, including significant CO2 reductions.

LEP director Clare Parnell, who chairs the LEP’s rural group and is a farmer in North Cornwall, said: “The Davidstow creamery is a major local employer whose supply chain extends across Cornwall and the wider region. The LEP’s investment, secured from the Getting Building Fund, is having an immediate impact by boosting capacity and improving the efficiency of the plant as the business looks to further growth.”

Tom Atherton, president and chief operating officer of Saputo Dairy UK, said: “The awarding of this grant is welcome news for Saputo Dairy UK, our 200-plus employees in Cornwall, our 330 supplying farmers and all those who support our business in the South West. It enables us to strengthen the infrastructure at our Davidstow creamery to support the continued growth of our award-winning cheddar brands, both in the UK and abroad. The launch of Cathedral City in North America is just the first step in our ambitious international expansion programme.”

The LEP successfully bid for £14.3-million of Getting Building Fund investment last summer following a government call for ‘shovel-ready’ projects that could create jobs and support post-COVID-19 economic recovery across the country.

The LEP is backing six other Getting Building Fund projects in Cornwall with a total value of £58-million, supporting around 1,100 jobs.

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