Elin Jones, Rural Affairs Minister for Wales, threw her backing behind the new 100% Welsh cheddar from the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company.
The Minister sampled the range of premium cheddars made from 100% Welsh milk by the award-winning Haverfordwest Creamery in Wales, when she visited the First Milk stand at the Royal Welsh Show today (Monday 21 July).
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: "It gives me great pleasure to celebrate with The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company the introduction to the market a new range of premium cheddar, made from 100% Welsh milk produced by 300 dairy farmers in West Wales.
"The cheddar is a welcome addition to the market and will help increase the amount of Welsh cheese purchased in Wales and across the UK. The Welsh Assembly Government is proud to be associated with the development of this farmer-owned business and to have contributed to its strategic growth over the years."
The new cheeses, produced by around 300 dairy farmers all based within a 35 mile radius of the creamery, are targetted at the increasing consumer demand for foods with a local provenance.
Currently only 6%* of the cheese sold in Wales is Welsh, compared with 27% of cheese sold in Scotland being Scottish. The unique climate in west Wales enables the creamery to produce amazing quality cheese to meet the demands of cheese-lovers throughout Wales.
The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company is part of First Milk, the UK's largest dairy farmer co-operative, so the farmers benefit directly from the success of the enterprise.
Richard Greenhalgh, Chairman of First Milk, said: "There is no doubt that people are taking more of an interest in where their food comes from and we are confident that our range of Pembrokeshire Cheese Company cheeses will satisfy the demand from Welsh consumers to buy Welsh produce as well as providing them with a superb quality product.
The three Welsh cheddars produced by the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company are:Mature Welsh Cheddar
This tasty, firm bodied cheese is hand selected for its creamy, savoury flavour and delicate sweetness. Available in 200g and 400g pre-packs.Extra Mature Welsh Cheddar
This tangy cheese is matured a little longer to give it a deliciously crumbly texture and a sweeter, yet more savoury taste. Available in 200g pre-pack and 2.5Kg deli blocks.Mature Organic Welsh Cheddar
Made with cows' milk from organically farmed herds, this Cheddar is deliciously smooth with a creamy, slightly savoury taste with just the faintest hint of sweetness. Available in 200g pre-pack & 2.5Kg deli blocks.
The cheeses are already available throughout Wales at branches of Spar and soon to be followed by Tesco and Morrisons.
More information about the Pembrokeshire Cheese Company may be found at the website: www.pembrokeshirecheesecompany.co.uk.
- ends -
*Source TNS March 2008
The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company
- The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company is wholly owned by the First Milk Cheese Company, a division of First Milk
- First Milk is the largest farmer-owned dairy business in the UK. Its members' farms stretch from West Wales to East Anglia and from Central Scotland to the South of England
- The company handles approximately 1.8 billion litres of milk per annum from its 2,600 dairy farmer members
The Haverfordwest Creamery
- The creamery was originally built in 1930 as a milk processing factory when local milk was condensed to be made into evaporated milk. In 1963, the site was converted into a cheese factory
- First Milk bought a 20% share of Haverfordwest creamery in 2002
- In 2006, there was a £2.6m upgrade in the cheese room
- In October 2006, First Milk bought the majority of Dairy Crest's retailer branded cheese operations, including the remaining share of the Haverfordwest creamery
- This year has seen a £3 million investment in the installation of new whey processing equipment at the site, part-funded by a £1.2m grant from the Welsh Assembly Government
- In 2007 the creamery won 50 awards for its cheese including 10 gold medals
- To date this year, the creamery has won The Grocer magazine's Own Label Excellence Award in the traditional cheese category as well as eight medals at the early agricultural shows
For images and more information, please contact Jill Coyle, Communications Manager, First Milk, 0141 847 6884/07825 625205