The dairy giant said the £4m first-phase investment at the site in North Cornwall – which is due to be completed by Autumn 2011 – will “substantially increase production … to meet a growing demand from major retailers and foodservice providers nationwide”.
A spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that Milk Link was not prepared to disclose production figures at this stage (with CCL currently producing around 800t of soft cheese per year) but the improvement would lead to a “substantial uplift in production” for existing cheeses.
Safeguard existing jobs
However, she did not believe the new investment would result in new jobs: “So far as I am aware, the investment will increase capacity and safeguard existing jobs. I don’t think there are any plans to recruit new staff at the moment.
Milk Link acquired CCL in January, and the investment will increase production and maturation capacity for cheeses such as Cornish Brie, Camembert and other brands, including Gevrik goats’ cheese and St Endellion (Cornish Brie with double cream).
Chief executive, Milk Link, Neil Kennedy said: “Our new investment atTrevarrianis an important step forward in the growth and development of Cornish Country Larder.”
Heavy cheese traffic
At the time of the acquisition, Milk Link corporate affairs director Will Sanderson told this publication that the Trevarrian site was hitting capacity during peak sales times for British soft cheese in the run-up to Christmas last year.
Asked why sales of British soft cheese were doing so well, with UK Camembert sales up 11% in 2010, and Brie up 6%, the spokeswoman said that consumers are "increasing the repertoire" of British cheeses they try, while their usage patterns were also changing with the rise of products such as breaded Brie and Camembert in the food service sector.
CCL turns over around £9.1m and supplies major retailers including Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco plus a raft of independent outlets.
Milk Link handles more than 1.4bn litres of milk a year (12% of GB milk production) and is a major British cheese producer, supplying retailers, manufacturers and caterers from three creameries.