Shropshire-based speciality cheesemaker Belton Farm has opened a new cheese cutting and packing facility as part of an investment program that will boost the manufacturer’s production capabilities.
The BRC AA-accredited facility, which was completed at the cost of £1.75m (around US$2m), means that activity previously undertaken by Belton Packing & Logistics in Wrexham has moved to the Whitchurch-based farm itself, around 16 miles away. The move will enable greater operational flexibility and customer service levels, leading to the adoption of new pack sizes and formats for Belton Farm’s speciality cheese business. There have been no job losses, with all existing staff moving to the new cutting and packing hub.
“The new speciality cheese cutting and packing facility complements our existing relationships with cheese packing suppliers, who will continue to handle the majority of cheese packing requirements,” a spokesperson for the farm told us. “Our focus is on quality, speciality-packing traditional wedge-cut and new multi-component packs.”
There are further operational improvements scheduled by Belton Farm. In early 2023, the cheesemaker will install field-mounted solar panels that will generate 40% of its electricity. The farm has also invested in CO2 refrigeration system to supply the two cold stores and High Care air-conditioning. “As a bi-product, the CO2 refrigeration system we are using will supply all the hot water needed for the packing plant, and extra for cheese production. This will also help reduce our carbon footprint,” the spokesperson said.
Future investment to upgrade the cheese dairy to increase production capacity is also planned.
Commenting on the new cutting and packing facility, Justin Beckett, managing director of Belton Farm, said: “The completion of our new cheese cutting and packing facility here at Belton Farm is an integral part of our plan to grow and develop our speciality cheese business. It comes in the year that we celebrate our cheese making centenary here at Belton Farm and demonstrates that we are not only proud of our heritage but also focused on our future.”
In other news, Belton Farm recently took home the Trophy for Best Territorial Cheese at the Great Yorkshire Show with its traditional Double Gloucester, alongside three gold, six silver and one bronze medal for its cheeses including the Cheshire, the Vintage Red Fox, the Creamy Lancashire and the Port Wine Derby.