Wyke Farms grows turnover but profits fall

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

The challenging dairy sector has hit Wyke Farms
The challenging dairy sector has hit Wyke Farms

Related tags: Milk, Carbon dioxide, Wyke farms

Wyke Farms has reported a rise in turnover but a pre-tax loss for its full-year results that was characterised by a near 50% fall in the value of EU dairy commodities.

The Somerset-based firm grew turnover from £60.8M to £64.2M over the 52 weeks to March 31 2015.

The results, filed with Companies House, reported a pre-tax loss of £964,000. Operating loss for the 2015 financial year was £203,000, compared with a £1.8M profit in 2014.

Wyke Farms boss Richard Clothier told FoodManufacture.co.uk it had been a “tough year”​ in the dairy market and particularly tough for cheese makers.

“The market weakened rapidly which meant that cheesemakers such as Wyke had cheese in stock made six months before with expensive milk, coming out of store to be sold in a deflated market,”​ he said.

“We hope that next year will be more settled.”

Price pressures

Wyke Farms also blamed increased competition in the cheese sector with pressure on prices and margins across the board for the loss.

Volumes were hit by deep-cut promotional activity in the category from dairy co-operatives and importers looking to move excess cheddar, Wyke Farms said in a statement released along with the results.

As a result, Wyke enjoyed fewer promotional slots than in previous years.

Market weakness was further exacerbated by the EU export ban to Russia and the lifting of milk quotas which stimulated excess milk production across the EU, it added.

Gas deal with Sainsbury

Wyke Farms also signed an agreement with Sainsbury to supply a large proportion of the retailer’s green gas, which makes up 6% of Sainsbury’s total gas use.

This will save more than 16t of carbon dioxide emissions a day or 24,000t over the length of the 12-month supply partnership, Wyke Farms claimed.

Clothier said he was “delighted” with the partnership.

“Supplying customers with gas as well as cheese, taking waste back in return, all forms part of the type of circular approach where everyone is a winner – especially the environment,” he said.

Wyke Farms became one of the first national food brands to be self-sufficient in green energy in a long-term sustainability plan called ‘Wyke Farms 100% Green’. Its goal is to create a sustainable working farm, one, which sources all its electricity and gas from solar and biogas, generated from the farm and dairy waste, which is currently of no value.

Wyke Farms will offer similar opportunities to other business serious about addressing their own environmental impact.

Meanwhile, read why one yogurt maker believes the ill-advised tactics of other food manufacturers and retailers had damaged the dairy sector.

Related topics: Dairy, Dairy-based ingredients

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