The dairy processor said it had benefitted from substantial growth in export sales to the EU and the rest of the world, up almost 20%, and growing consumer appetite for older, longer aged cheeses.
To support demand, Wyke Farms opened a new cheese store in September last year, with space for 1,762 pallets of cheese – about 2,000 tonnes of additional storage capacity. The unit was 2,500 times the size of its original store on the farm in Wyke Champflower, it said.
£1.3m export centre investment
This month also saw Wyke Farms complete a new export centre of excellence in Wincanton, Somerset, supported by a £1.3m food processing grant under the Government’s RDPE growth programme.
The site included space to mature an additional 2,500 tonnes of cheddar stocks on site, as well as increased cheese despatch storage to allow the company to consolidate cheese container orders prior to export in a post Brexit world, as well as and a long-life packing line for cheese exports.
Richard Clothier, Wyke Farms managing director and a judge of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards, said: “Built to the highest environmental standards this export hub will allow us to continue to export more of my grandmothers Ivy’s Vintage cheddar to over 160 countries in a post Brexit world, in the most environmentally responsible way helping to secure jobs and livelihoods of people in Somerset, the heart of Cheddar.”
Wyke Farms has also doubled down on its 100% green strategy by continuing to invest in its renewable energy business and switching to online meetings to cut down on greenhouse gases.
Clothier added: “It’s been a revelation for us; we now communicate better than ever and without people driving thousands of miles per year, their risk of accident is less, and they can spend more time with family. Post COVID we will retain some of these good practices and not return to old ways.”
Meanwhile, Avara Foods spent £6m on COVID-19-related measures in the year to 31 May 2020 and the investment was rewarded with an uplift in sales and pre-tax profit.