Arla looking to close cheese site in UK

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Arla Foods UK is proposing to close its plant in Trevarrian, Cornwall. Pic: Arla Foods UK
Arla Foods UK is proposing to close its plant in Trevarrian, Cornwall. Pic: Arla Foods UK

Related tags Arla foods uk Arla foods Arla Cheese

Following a decline in site volumes due to loss of own-label cheese contracts, as well as continued instability in foodservice demand due to the ongoing pandemic, dairy cooperative Arla Foods is proposing to end production at its Trevarrian Creamery in Cornwall, subject to consultation with employees at the site.

The proposal could result in the closure of Trevarrian Creamery by early summer 2021, with the potential loss or relocation of up to 37 jobs.

Trevarrian is a small village about 5km north of Newquay, on the northern coast of Cornwall.

The site produces a range of Brie, Camembert and other cheeses predominantly under local brands or own-label retailer brands. Arla said volumes at the site have been in decline for the past three years, and this has been worsened by the loss of own-label cheese contracts on top of the continued instability in foodservice demand due to the ongoing pandemic.

Arla said it believes maintaining production at the site is no longer financially viable for Arla Foods and its farmer-owners.

“As a farmer-owned dairy company, our mission is to return the highest value for our farmers’ milk, sustaining a robust milk price for them that allows them to keep investing in sustainable dairy farming for the future and high animal-welfare standards,”​ said Alison Rance, vice president of production for Arla UK.

“Unfortunately, the drop in production volumes for the site means we believe it is no longer financial responsible for us to keep our Trevarrian facility in operation. We have explored multiple options including additional volume opportunities for the site, but see no other alternative than to propose a closure of the site.”

Rance said, “We recognize that this will be a difficult time for all those colleagues impacted by these proposals and our priority right now is to support them to manage this situation as best we can. We are entering into full consultation with all colleagues affected by this proposal, and their trade union representatives. If the proposal goes ahead we are committed to supporting affected colleagues at this difficult time and will do everything we can to support them in their search for suitable alternative employment, either within Arla or elsewhere.”

If the proposal goes ahead, Arla said it will look to recruit colleagues into vacant positions within its network and will set up links with local job centers, and provide outplacement support, as well as working with other local food producers to find suitable vacancies.

It is envisaged that the milk from Arla farmers in the area would instead go primarily to Arla’s sites at Taw Valley and Westbury, if the proposal goes ahead.

The remaining products currently made at the Trevarrian Creamery cannot be produced elsewhere in Arla, due to their required production process and compositions. Arla therefore expects to cease supply to customers of these products by the end of early summer 2021 following consultation process.

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