Rural Affairs Minister for Wales officially inaugurates whey processing at Haverfordwest

First Milk's £3 million investment in new whey¹ processing equipment at its Haverfordwest creamery in Pembrokeshire, was officially inaugurated today (May 15th) by Elin Jones, Rural Affairs Minister for Wales.
The significant investment – which was part-funded by a Welsh Assembly Government grant of £1.2 million – will deliver more than £500,000 of energy savings at the site each year as well as improving the quality of whey produced at the creamery.

Work on the project began in March 2007 and was completed on-time and within budget, just ten months later.

Paul Rowe, General Manager at First Milk's Haverfordwest creamery, commented, "In addition to improving the returns the creamery can command for our whey products, this new equipment also enables us to achieve significant energy savings and reduce our CO2 emissions by over 3200Tonnes.

"Between reduced heavy fuel oil usage, effluent treatment and the recovery and re-use of condensate water, we are delivering benefits in the region of half a million pounds per annum."

Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs, said: "I am delighted to be here today. The opening of the whey processing facility, part-funded by a Welsh Assembly Government grant of £1.2 million, is further evidence of First Milk's firm commitment to its operation in Haverfordwest. The Welsh Assembly Government is keen to support First Milk, which is a major outlet for milk produced by dairy farmers in South West Wales. I wish the staff well with this innovative process."

The investment in the new whey processing equipment has come in addition to £3 million spent at the creamery in 2006 on cheese manufacturing equipment.

"The investment at Haverfordwest in the past 18 months clearly underlines First Milk's commitment to Wales. The grant support we have received from the Welsh Assembly Government has been instrumental in enabling us to undertake this latest project," added Mr Rowe.

"Arguably, the dairy industry has never been more competitive and it is therefore critical that we continue to invest in our assets to maintain our leading position.

"We have around 300 farmer members within a 35 miles radius of the creamery and it is important that we make these investments for their future and for the future of dairying in West Wales," he said.

Notes to editors

¹Whey is a by-product of cheese making. It is formed when the curds separate from the milk. After the cheese curds are formed, the remaining liquid is called 'whey'.

Whey products are used as ingredients in a range of products including functional foods, protein drinks, pro-biotics, pre-biotics, pharmaceutical, bakery and confectionary.
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. This 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 functional foods, protein drinks, pro-biotics, pre-biotics.
The Haverfordwest creamery has been at the Merlin's Bridge site at Haverfordwest since 1930 and commenced manufacturing cheese in the early 1960's.

Currently, the creamery produces over 20,000 tonnes of cheese for a number of major retail customers including Morrisons, Tesco and ASDA, in addition to 35,000 tonnes of whey products.

For further information:
Jill Coyle 07825 625205