Written by Rachel Martin
Wales’s oldest dairy farming co-operative is celebrating record sales of £52.9 million.
The boost has allowed South Caernarfon Creameries to create 11 new jobs taking its total workforce to 130.
Based in Chwilog, near Pwllheli, the firm has expanded its product range, grown its customer base and recruited more Welsh farmers as supplying members.
The creamery, which is best known for its award-winning Dragon branded cheeses and butter, saw a 17% increase in sales in the last financial year.
It means total sales generated by the plant at Chwilog near Pwllheli have increased by some 60% in the last two years. The growths follows a major £13.5 million investment to expand its production and packaging facilities in 2016.
SCC’s annual financial report just published for the year ending March 2019 shows the company’s operating profit at £2.2 million.
The dairy produces 14,000t of cheese a year using 100% Welsh milk from 130 farming members across north and mid-Wales.
Among a clutch of new sales achieved in the year was a contract to supply retail giant Tesco with the new Dragon Handcrafted range of cheeses.
The innovative new range was created in collaboration with three other Welsh businesses Halen Mon, Penderyn Whisky and Llechwedd Slate Caverns.
It includes a Maplewood Smoked Cheddar developed with the smokery at Halen Môn, which recently scooped Gold and Silver prizes at the Royal Welsh Show, and was showcased to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to Anglesey this spring.
Alan Wyn Jones, managing director at South Caernarfon Creameries, said: “These are exciting times for all of us at South Caernarfon Creameries.
“The directors of the business are satisfied with the overall financial performance for the period, which was in-line with expectations.
“We are delighted to have posted record sales for the second year running, helping to secure the futures for our staff here at Chwilog, our suppliers, our farming members, and our wider stakeholders.
“Following major capital investment in recent years in our facilities, our focus has been to maximise the operational capacity available to us whilst growing and developing a diverse and high-quality customer base.Our business growth and success is the result of our staff and members’ hard work in producing high quality and innovative products and service to our customers.
“We now have a strong platform in place, a platform that we shall continue to build upon with the objective of providing our farmer members and staff a sustainable future.
“With the current political uncertainty having an impact on the markets that we serve, the current environment is a challenging one but we remain focused on adding as much value as possible in all that we do.
“We are committed to ongoing investment in our business and we face the future with excitement and confidence for ongoing progress and success.”
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