UK – Wyke Farms, UK’s largest independent cheese producer, has received US$29.79million (£30m) in financial backing from UK Export Finance (UKEF) and Barclays to strengthen its cheddar exports.
The Somerset cheese maker said the investment will help tackle inflationary pressures that have increased its production costs exponentially and support its continued international expansion plan.
The £30m general export facility is a revision on an existing financing facility amended to factor in the increase in costs of milk, which have hugely impacted the manufacturer’s production costs.
Established 160 years ago, Wyke Farms produces more than 18,000 tons of Cheddar cheese each year – 65% of which is sold domestically – including premium own-label ranges in the UK for leading supermarket chains, such as Lidl, Asda, and Co-op. The remaining 35% share of around 6,000 tons is exported abroad.
Richard Clothier, managing director at Wyke Farms, said: “We’re grateful for UKEF’s support and Barclays which enabled us to fulfill our growing export sales despite the rising cost of production.
“By developing these new regions, we can expand sales of our more premium cheeses, which helps to improve the milk price paid to Southwest farmers and therefore benefits the whole region. This UKEF support has enabled us to grow our business quicker by allowing us to continue to push further into markets all over the world.”
With the backing from UKEF, the third-generation family-owned cheese producer has continued building its market share in Europe after first entering the continent over 25 years ago.
It also set its expansion to reach new regions as it establishes brands in Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the USA.
Moreover, Wyke Farms is also developing brands that specifically target Asian markets, including Japan, with its ‘London 1856’ brand putting the Union Jack on the heart of the packaging and the world’s first Carbon Neutral Vintage cheddar ‘Ivy’s Reserve’ targeted at established cheese markets and global pockets of affluence.
The company has also invested in boosting its sustainability, with its operations powered 100% by renewable power and green gas.
Prioritizing product recycling, the company recoups 70% of the water used in the production process, while it also pumps 20,000 cubic meters of green gas back into the local power grid every day, contributing to the carbon balance of the business.