Dairy co-op First Milk has announced plans to invest £12.5m in cheese and whey processing facilities over the forthcoming financial year.
The supplier is to plough £9m into work at its Lake District Creamery in Aspatria, Cumbria, with a further £3.5m being invested at its Haverfordwest Creamery in west Wales. The spend will take total capital investment over the past three years to £30m, helping capacity at both sites grow by more than 20%.
First Milk said investment at the Lake District Creamery would see it install new high-capacity cheese blockformers, as well as new water, milk, cream and whey handling processes.
It marks the fourth stage of a multi-year investment totalling around £14m at the facility since 2019, which has seen major upgrades including a new rapid chill store and improvements to milk processing equipment.
The investment at the Haverfordwest Creamery will see a new chilled water plant delivered, as well as a significant upgrade to the whey process.
It follows an £8m investment at the site, completed last year, which included a new cheese tower, separators and additional milk silos, as well as the installation of a combined heat and power plant.
The dairy co-op said the investment meant it was “well placed to meet the growing requirements of customers in the UK and in export markets”.
First Milk was “committed to investing in our processing facilities to continuously drive operational efficiency, product quality and sustainability”, said CEO Shelagh Hancock.
“This investment programme will unlock additional capacity, whilst helping us further enhance our award-winning product quality. What’s more, this capital spend enables us to reduce energy and water use, helping us to meet our ambitious First4Milk environmental targets and reinforcing our commitment to sustainable dairy.”