Wyke Farms hits key green energy target

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wyke farms, Waste management, Waste, Tesco

Wyke Farms boss Richard Clothier: Proud to be one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient in energy
Wyke Farms boss Richard Clothier: Proud to be one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient in energy
Cheesemaker Wyke Farms has become 100% self-sufficient in green energy after opening a new £4M biogas plant at its Bruton site in Somerset yesterday (September 19).

The plant, which took five years to plan and build, will convert 75,000t of biodegradable waste materials, mainly cow manure, from the farm and dairy each year into energy. This will be achieved by three 4,600m3​ digester vessels. 

Key environmental benefits include reducing and managing waste, producing energy and enabling the business to save more than 4Mkg of carbon dioxide per year. Wyke Farms will also be able to generate all its electricity and gas  from both solar and biogas and export power back to the national grid.

Richard Clothier, the firm’s md, said the business was committed to operating with minimal impact on the Somerset environment, and to create a symbiotic relationship with the countryside.

‘One of the first national food brands’

“We’re committed to energy efficiency and we’re proud to be one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient,”​ said Clothier.

“We can now take the cow waste (which has inherently been a problem) and turn it into pure, clean, energy to drive all our own needs and more. This, in turn, leaves a natural fertiliser that we can plough back into the land to invest in the future health and wellbeing of our cattle – and so the cycle starts again.”   

The biogas plant is part of the firm’s £10M green energy venture, which includes solar power and water re-usage across its family-owned farms and cheese dairy.

Clothier told FoodManufacture.co.uk in July: “For a brand like us, this​ [energy project] gives us a real point of difference in the market.”

Largest family-owned cheese maker

Wyke Farms is now the nation’s largest family-owned cheese maker, selling more than 14,000t each year to more than 160 countries worldwide. The company recently featured in a national South African TV advert featuring Gordon Ramsey. 

Last year, Clothier fought a high-profile battle with supermarket Morrisons, after the retailer de-listed the Wyke Farms brands. His Facebook campaign won mass popular support, as he strove to persuade Morrisons to relist Wyke Farms cheese.

Wyke Farms products are now stocked by Asda, the Co-op, Makro, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose stores.

Its cheese has become the fastest growing cheddar brand – rising at a rate of 10% each year every year for the past five years, claimed the firm.

Clothier is one of six food and drink industry figures battling for the prestigious Personality of the Year Award​ – part of the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards.

 

What they say about Wyke Farms green energy

  • David Cameron, ​Prime Minister, who visited the site this summer: “It’s great to see a family farming business like Wyke Farms investing in such an innovative green energy scheme. Making use of their waste products in order to become 100% self-sufficient in green energy will make them more efficient and help the environment.”

 

  • Jonathan Dimbleby,​ political commentator: “I think this is a really exciting project. It is pioneering and it is path finding. If we are to achieve a sustainable agriculture in the future this defines the way it should be approached.”

Related topics: Dairy, Dairy-based ingredients

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