Cheese producer to up its production after £17.9m deal

North Yorkshire’s Wensleydale Creamery, home of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, is investing in new equipment to increase production capacity following a £17.9m deal with HSBC UK.

The business plans to hike production to significantly grow sales, which will help secure local employment opportunities and ensure a sustainable future for the farms supplying the creamery.

The deal, along with the securing of an EU productivity grant of about £800,000, will enable the creamery to modernise its cheese-making facilities, with the purchase of vats, working tables and cheese-making and curd-handling equipment. This will help improve efficiency and enhance the working environment.

A new cheese smoking plant, along with water recycling and increased milk storage capacity are also planned.

In addition, almost £1m worth of HSBC UK’s funding will go towards a cheese blending and waxing facility, allowing the business to blend cheese more efficiently with a state-of-the-art production line.

By-products from the cheese-making process at the creamery are being taken to Iona Capital’s bio-gas plant in Leeming, North Yorkshire, where it is converted into electricity to produce around 10,000 MWh of thermal power. This is enough energy to heat approximately 800 homes.

David Hartley, managing director, Wensleydale Cheese, said: “The support from HSBC UK will allow us to increase and improve production across the creamery.

“By investing in new, modern equipment, we can improve our efficiency as well as improve process control with technical excellence.

“It puts us in a strong position to grow the business and meet customer demand for our brand and products. HSBC UK provided sound guidance and showed enthusiasm for our growth plans.”

Gordon Forster, area director, HSBC UK, said: “We are a huge supporter of rural British business and Wensleydale Creamery is a much-loved British food brand, crucial to the economic well-being of the deeply rural area in which it is situated, and we’re delighted to help with its growth plans.

“David and his team have shown great commitment and strategic thinking behind their plans for sustainable growth and we wish them every success moving forward.”

Sally Bowen, financial director, Wensleydale Creamery was advised by Stuart Henry, relationship director, HSBC UK.

The Wensleydale Creamery produces 4,000 tonnes of cheese a year at its base in Hawes, North Yorkshire. It employs a workforce of 230 and supplies some of the biggest retailers in the UK.

It exports its cheeses around the world and is particularly popular in North America, Middle East and Europe. Its Visitor Centre attracts 350,000 visitors each year.

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