Scottish dairy producer McLelland is investing a total of £13 million to extend its cheese-making operations in Stranraer.
The investment includes a £4 million development award from the Scottish government, which will be used to enlarge the storage and cheese packing facilities for the McLelland Group, owners of McLelland Cheese Packing and McLelland Caledonian Cheese Company.
This is the latest expansion and development of the cheese-making operations at Stranraer since McLelland took over management in 1994.
At that time, the creamery at Stranraer, previously owned and operated by the Scottish Milk Marketing Board, was failing and McLelland came in to ensure the continued manufacture of cheddar cheese and provide an outlet for milk produced in Ayrshire and South West Scotland.
The new McLelland Caledonian Cheese Company was incorporated in 1995 with A. McLelland & Son, Murray Vernon Holdings and the Farmers Creamery Co-operative (producers co-operative comprising 700 farmers) forming the partnership.
The company obtains milk for the Stranraer Creamery directly from dairy producers in Wigtownshire and milk producer groups including First Milk. A range of branded cheddar cheeses are produced, including Seriously Strong (now one of the top selling branded UK cheddars), Galloway and McLelland Mature. Supermarket own label cheddars are also made for all the major multiple retailers.
The development plans include the building of a new 10,000 ton cold store within the existing site at Stranraer, made up of four fire protected units of 2,500 tons each. The project is expected to create five new jobs
A McLelland & Son is establishing a separate subsidiary company, McLelland Cheese Packing (MCP), to pre-pack cheese for The Caledonian Cheese Company. The project is expected to create 39 full-time jobs within MCP and also safeguard 94 jobs within Creamery.
MCP is to also erect a new 3,000 square metre high-specification building into which state-of-the-art plant and equipment will be installed.