Sainsbury’s is also adding two new milk processors to handle milk from its farmer suppliers.
Alan Wyn-Jones, managing director at South Caernarfon Creameries, told DairyReporter that it is a national contract for the Sainsbury’s ‘Basics’ range, which includes 13 SKUs. The products, which include entry level and top-tier cheeses, will launch into stores later this year.
Fifteen jobs created
The contract will create 15 new jobs when the contract starts, which Wyn-Jones says is great news for the local economy.
He added, “With our new cheese production facility soon to be fully operational, this contract will result in the new facility being at full production from the outset. It will also mean that we shall be investing significantly in our cheese packing operations.”
The company could not reveal how much cheese would be produced for Sainsbury’s, nor the company that is being replaced as the Sainsbury’s supplier.
Provides other cheese to Sainsbury’s
Wyn-Jones said the company has been working with Sainsbury’s prior to the announcement.
He said that the Welsh farmer co-operative created Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar in conjunction with Sainsburys and Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
“It was developed exclusively for Sainsbury’s and is sold nationally throughout the UK under their Taste the Difference brand in retail and deli format.”
Wyn-Jones said that the cheese has a long, traditional maturing method.
“Following initial maturation at the Creameries’ site near Pwlhelli in North Wales, the cheese is then transported to the nearby Llechwedd Slate Cavern in the depths of Snowdonia and stored 500 feet underground in what is believed to be the steepest mining maturation caverns,” he said.
“The Cheddar is then left to mature again for several months. This process adds unique characteristics to the cheese; a firmer body and depth of flavor with rich, savory notes.”
Adding milk processors
In addition to switching cheese suppliers, Sainsbury’s is also set to work with two additional milk companies from July 2017.
Through its group of more than 270 farmers, its British milk and cream is currently processed by Arla and Müller Milk & Ingredients. From next year, supply will also be processed by Tomlinson and Medina.
Tomlinson’s Dairies, based in Wrexham, Wales, will take on milk distributed to stores in Wales and parts of England.
Medina will process fresh milk and cream at its Watsons Dairy plant in Hampshire for supply to proportion a of Sainsbury’s stores in the south of England.
Whilst changes will be introduced from next year and run until 2020, the retailer will continue to source from the same group of farmers.