A PARTNERSHIP between two companies is set to reinforce Adams Foods of Leek as a leading supplier of cheese.
The announcement, which has been made today, is set to pave the way for new investment, the creation of more jobs and greater job security and career progression opportunities for the 600 staff at the Adams Foods' site in Barnfields Industrial Site in Leek.
The Boards of Adams Foods, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of cheese, and First Milk, the largest British farmer-owned dairy co-operative, have announced that they have entered into a long term strategic partnership.
The partnership will establish a fully integrated supply chain for hard cheese in the UK retail, food service and wholesale sectors through harnessing the complementary resources, skills and experience of both companies.
As part of the partnership, Adams Foods will utilise its best-in-class facility at Leek in Staffordshire to cut, pack and market 50,000 tonnes of hard cheese, including branded cheddars, produced at First Milk’s award winning Lake District and Haverfordwest creameries. Adams Foods will take on the business for the sales and marketing of this cheese to British retail, food service and wholesale customers. First Milk will continue to manage the sales and marketing of its cheddars to export markets.
Under the terms of the partnership, Adams Foods will pay a competitive price for the cheese, with the partnership also facilitating significant additional investment at First Milk’s creameries to ensure that they are amongst the best in the UK dairy industry.
A spokesman for Adams said: "The partnership will reinforce Adams Foods position as a leading supplier of both British and Irish cheese in the UK and increase its turnover to over £500 million per annum.
"It will provide a strong platform for the further development of Adams’ retail and food service customer label, convenience format and branded cheddar offering.
"It will result in a significant uplift in cheese packing volumes at its Leek facility. As such, it will lead to further investment, the creation of more jobs, more opportunities for its existing 600 employees and overall deliver greater job security and career progression for the long term."
Ian Toal, Chief Executive of Adams Foods added: "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 demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting the British cheese market and to meeting the needs of our growing customer base.
"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 our state of the art packing facility in Leek and our recently opened innovation centre."
Kate Allum, Chief Executive of First Milk said: "This partnership is directly in line with our strategic objective of adding value and delivering a sustainable future for our farmers.
"It not only enables us to work with a partner to deliver a short, integrated supply chain, but most importantly guarantees secure returns for our members’ milk.
"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."
The partnership will be subject to competition approval.
The long term partnership is set to deliver strong benefits to both companies, their customers and the wider British dairy industry. The benefits have been set out as:
- The partnership will create a comprehensive integrated supply chain for the UK hard cheese market. It will be able to guarantee existing and prospective retail and food service customers a secure, efficient and traceable supply of high quality British and Irish hard cheese.
- It will secure a sustainable, long-term outlet for the majority of First Milk’s hard cheese. In doing so, it will allow First Milk to put more commercial focus on brand development outside cheddar. Priority areas will include lifestyle nutrition, food service and exports.
- It will reinforce Adams Foods position as a leading supplier of both British and Irish cheese in the UK, and build upon its existing supply relationships with British cheese makers such as Parkham Farms and South Caernarfon Creameries.
- It will provide a strong platform for the further development of Adams Foods retail, food service and wholesale customer label, convenience format and branded cheddar offering. It will complement Adams Foods best in class capabilities in relation to product and packaging innovation, marketing and category management.
- At a wider industry level, the partnership will play a key role in helping to sustain and develop the British cheese market. It will provide greater stability to the wider British dairy industry following a period of considerable volatility both at a processor and farmer level.