This includes £9m being invested at its Lake District Creamery in Aspatria, Cumbria, with a further £3.5m being invested at its Haverfordwest Creamery.
The investment at the Lake District Creamery will finance the installation of high-capacity cheese blockformers as well as new water, milk, cream and whey handling processes.
This marks the fourth stage of a multi-year investment totalling around £14m at the Lake District site since 2019, which has seen major upgrades including a new rapid chill store and improvements to milk processing equipment.
The investment at the Haverfordwest Creamery will ensure the delivery of a new chilled-water plant, plus a significant upgrade to whey processing. This comes on the back of an £8m investment in the Haverfordwest site, completed last year, which included a new cheese tower, separators, additional milk silos, as well as the installation of a combined heat and power plant.
Processing capacity up by over 20%
Overall, this £30m investment over the last three years will take processing capacity of both sites up by over 20%. This would ensure it was well-placed to meet the growing requirements of customers in the UK and in export markets, First Milk said.
“We are committed to investing in our processing facilities to continuously drive operational efficiency, product quality and sustainability," First Milk chief executive officer Shelagh Hancock said. "This investment programme will unlock additional capacity, whilst helping us further enhance our award-winning product quality. What’s more, this capital spend enables us to reduce energy and water use, helping us to meet our ambitious First4Milk environmental targets and reinforcing our commitment to sustainable dairy.
“Including these new projects, we will have invested around £30m in our cheese production sites since 2018, ensuring our business is resilient and well-placed to meet the growing demand from our customers across the world, helping us to further improve the returns to our farmer members for the long-term.”
First Milk is a British farmer-owned co-operative producing cheeses ranging from Cheddar to Red Leicester and Double Gloucester, most of which is sold through our partner, Ornua. The group exports cheese to more than 26 countries.
In addition to producing cheese, it produces bulk butter, cream and whey proteins and traceable fresh milk to dairy manufacturers and processors across the UK.