Employees at The Lake District Creamery in Aspatria are celebrating four gold awards for their cheese – with only a quarter of the show season under their belts.
The creamery, which is owned by First Milk, the UK's largest farmer-owned co-operative has also scooped two silver awards and four bronzes in the agricultural shows so far.
Tony McLoughlin, General Manager at the creamery, said his team were absolutely delighted at their success so far. "The creamery had a vintage year for awards in 2007 and we are determined to win even more in 2008. Our gold awards have been won for our Mature; our Double Gloucester; our Red Leicester and our Smokey cheese, so are right across our product range.
"It is particularly pleasing that we have won a gold for our Smokey cheese, which is one of the trio of cheeses which make up our Lake District Cheese Company range," said Tony.
"Cheese shows are the shop window for our products and we know existing and potential customers take notice of who's winning the big prizes so it is great for our reputation to be known as a producer of award-winning cheese."
The Lake District Creamery, which employs 95 staff, is in the heart of a large producer area for First Milk. "We have around 250 producers in Cumbria so it is a very tight-knit area. Our members are delighted that they own their own creamery which is right on their doorstep, which produces their own cheese brand," he added.
Previously The Lake District Creamery only supplied a number of the key retailers in the UK with private label cheese, including ASDA. Since last autumn however, the creamery has also been producing is own brand of cheeses under The Lake District Cheese Company brand.
"The Lake District Cheese Company cheeses have been selling incredibly well locally. We have a significant number of outlets throughout Cumbria and The Lake District and the customer feedback has been extremely positive. We are now looking to achieve listings for the brand in the northern stores of the major retailers and we hope to move that forward in the next few weeks.
"Regional provenance is important to consumers who want to know where their cheese is coming from – and that they are also supporting local farmers," added Mr McLoughlin.
"Buying The Lake District brand means that consumers know that the milk is local and the cheese is local – and now it is also award-winning cheese."
Notes to Editors
First Milk is the largest dairy farmer co-operative in the UK. Its members' farms stretch from Central Scotland to the South of England and from West Wales to East Anglia. The business has three divisions: Milk Operations; Cheese and Ingredients.
Milk Operations handles approximately 1.8 billion litres of milk per annum from around 2600 producers. The milk is supplied to First Milk's cheese business and to many of the leading names in the industry.
The First Milk Cheese Company is the largest UK-based cheese supplier.
First Milk's Ingredients business supplies a range of customers with milk powder and whey products for foods including protein drinks, bakery, ready-meals and confectionary products.
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