First Milk announces £12.5m investment in cheese & whey processing facilities
First Milk has announced a further significant capital investment in its cheese and whey processing facilities in the forthcoming financial year. This includes £9 million 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 see new high-capacity cheese blockformers installed, 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 see a new chilled-water plant delivered, as well as a significant upgrade to the whey process. 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.
Overall, this £30m investment over the last three years will take processing capacity of both sites up by over 20%, ensuring First Milk is well placed to meet the growing requirements of customers in the UK and in export markets.
Commenting on the developments, Shelagh Hancock, chief executive, said: “We are committed to investing in our processing facilities to continuously drive operational efficiency, product quality and sustainability. 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.”