THE dairy farming co-operative behind some of Wales’s most innovative and popular cheeses has been shortlisted for a top business award for its contribution to the rural economy.
South Caernarfon Creameries has been named as a Rural Business Awards (RBA) finalist in the Wales & Northern Ireland award in the Best Rural Food or Drink Business category.
The creamery, based for more than 80 years at Chwilog on the Llyn Peninsula, is Wales’s oldest and largest dairy farming co-operative, established in 1938 on the rural Llyn Peninsula.
The dairy produces 13,000 tonnes of cheese a year using 100% Welsh milk, including Wales’ number one selling Welsh cheese brand, its flagship Dragon range, plus a host of other products for the domestic retail, wholesale and export markets.
In the last year £37 million of a record £50m in sales by SCC was pumped back into the rural north and mid-Wales economy in payments to farmers, on top of £4m paid to staff in wages.
Recent innovations include the new Dragon Handcrafted range featuring three new cheeses produced in collaboration with other Welsh businesses, which has recently stocked by supermarket giants Tesco across 30 of its largest Welsh stores.
The range, recently tasted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to Anglesey, will be on show at SCC’s stand at the Royal Welsh Show from July 22- 25, and Nantwich Show from July 25-31.
It includes a Maplewood Smoked Cheddar, developed with the smokery at Halen Môn, a Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar, matured in the Llechwedd slate cavern at Blaenau Ffestiniog, and a Penderyn Whisky Cheddar.
The Rural Business Awards aim to give recognition to businesses across the rural sector, to celebrate the achievements of rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.
The winners of eleven awards, decided by an independent panel of judges, will be announced at an awards presentation on Friday 8th November 2019 at Wrexham Glyndŵr University
SCC Managing Director Alan Wyn Jones said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for a Rural Business Award. We are very proud of our rural heritage here at SCC.
“We work hard to support rural livelihoods by championing high quality local produce, adding value to the milk our farmers’ produce with our ever-evolving range of cheeses, and in turn achieving the best possible price return for their output.
“From the cow to counter, everyone at SCC including our farming members, staff, suppliers, retailers, wholesalers and customers are crucial to ensuring we make a valuable contribution to the rural economy.
“This starts with ensuring the highest quality supply of 100% Welsh milk, and goes right through to packaging new products for retail, championing their rural Welsh provenance.
“We are also committed to collaborating other rural businesses, and we’re excited that everyone can taste the results of this in our new Dragon Handcrafted range.
“We hope to continue this work in future as the business continues to expand, and we wish the best of luck to everyone who has been shortlisted in the RBA awards.”
In addition to the Dragon brand, SCC supplies own-label products to major supermarkets including Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury, Tesco, as well as wholesalers and other food producers who use the cheese in their products, such as Primula.
SCC is owned by its 130 farming members across North and Mid-Wales, including several families who have been with the co-op for generations. pack traceable to the farm where it originated more than 80 years ago.
The co-operative is an important local employer in rural Gwynedd with 98% of its 127 staff living with in 20 miles of the facility and the company is extremely proud of supporting its skilled workforce.
The company is an ambassador for high quality responsible dairy production, championing the Welsh provenance of its products.
SCC’s rural Welsh heritage is celebrated in the design of the Welsh Dragon logo, and packaging on Dragon brand cheeses features the lush grass of North Wales and a map of the rural region where the cheese originated.
SCC uses traditional open table cheesemaking techniques which go back more than four generations in Wales, with processes brought up to date thanks to new technology to enable production and packing on a large scale.
The company’s slogan is: “Making award winning cheese, every day until the cows come home.” This is celebrated in two television adverts produced last year to mark the patron saint of Wales on St David’s Day.
The adverts celebrate the farming heritage of Dragon cheese from SCC’s local farming area, and feature one of the company’s farmer members, John Hughes, who’s grandfather helped launch the co-op in 1938.