Cheese supplier Adams Foods and dairy cooperative First Milk are now in a strategic partnership, they have announced.

That means that hard cheese is set to have a supply chain that is fully integrated when it comes to the UK’s foodservice, wholesale and retail sectors.

The partnership will see Adams Foods’ Staffordshire facility in Leek cutting, packing and marketing some 50,000 tonnes of branded cheddar and other hard cheese which First Milk creameries have produced.

While First Milk is going to carry on managing sales and marketing for its cheddar cheese where export markets are concerned, Adams Foods is going to take on business for marketing and sales of the cheese it deals with in Leek where British food service, wholesale and retail customers are concerned.

The team-up will facilitate new investment in First Milk creameries and it’s said that the partnership, which will be in place long-term, is going to benefit both the organisations involved and customers as well as the dairy industry more generally.

According to Adam Foods’ chief executive, Ian Toal, “Today’s announcement is a further important move towards our strategic vision of becoming one of the leading suppliers of cheese in the UK and will increase our turnover to in excess of £500 million.”

It demonstrated his organisation has a continued commitment to giving support to the cheese market in the UK and meeting its own customers’ needs, he said.

“It represents a further major investment in building the market for both British and Irish sourced cheese, over and above the £60 million we have already invested in the business, including our state of the art packing facility in Leek and our recently opened innovation centre.”

Meanwhile Kate Allum, First Milk chief executive, said that the partnership – which is subject to competition approval – was completely in line with her organisation’s strategic objectives for creating added value and giving its farmers “a sustainable future”.

The team-up would allow it to work alongside a partner to create a supply chain that was short and integrated, she said.

“Most importantly [the partnership] guarantees secure returns for our members’ milk,” she added.
“Additionally, it will provide a platform for us to focus more of our time and resources on priority growth areas like brand development, lifestyle nutrition and exports.”

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