South Caernarfon Creameries has boosted turnover and profits in the year to March coming back from the pandemic with profits of £4.1m and a 17% increase in sales to a record-breaking £71.5m
The company has also revealed that it is ploughing £3.8m back into its investment programme Project Dragon, a five-year £20m plan to boost production at its Chwilog dairy near Pwllheli.
Project Dragon also includes new facilities for milk reception, additional cheese production and packing with work continuing to improve environmental and energy performance.
Managing director Alan Wyn Jones said: “Good progress has been achieved in what has and continues to be a very challenging period for everyone as well as the unimaginable circumstances in Ukraine adding to supply chain issues caused by the post-pandemic reopening of the economy.
“Despite that the business has performed strongly, increasing turnover in volume and value and with profits again up on the previous year at 5.8% of sales, above our five-year average of 4.9%. The pandemic led to increased sales in our largest market, UK retail, with strong consumption in the home and business to business sales performing better than expected.”
He added that demand continued to recover in the smaller wholesale markets and in foodservices though not yet to pre-pandemic levels.
South Caernarfon Creameries, which is owned by its 145 farmer-members across North, Mid and West Wales, has been able to pay the second highest milk price in Wales to its producers, an annual average of 31.53p a litre, it said.
They were also able to allocate nearly £1m in dividends to the members, many of whom have been with the co-op since it was founded in 1938.
Wyn Jones added: “Despite ongoing challenges, the business has made good progress this year with significant ongoing investment at the Creamery which will enhance performance and further futureproof the business.
“Dairy is in the spotlight around concerns over environmental footprint and animal welfare and here we also take our responsibilities seriously and we will continue to build upon the great industry work in this area in the year ahead.”