Cheesy1’s I have some sad news to update you all on before the evening is out and it is very difficult for me to pass this on.
From January 2016 Cricketer Farms cheese production will fade out over the coming months because a “Major Customer” has pulled out from having their cheese and the global pressures on milk is another contributing factor. The main reason is that the farm has had “significant financial loses” over the last financial year with no real solution to the problem as cheese prices wouldn’t be competitive.
In a full statement released by Cricketer Farm it expands on the previous points:
“The global dairy industry is in turmoil due to the oversupply of milk products and the strong pound, and UK exports have been devalued, especially in the wake of EU milk quotas being lifted. Also, the UK’s largest retailers are suffering from lack of growth which is reducing demand and increasing competitiveness in the marketplace. Some retailers have decided to cut costs by reducing the number of suppliers and as a result Cricketer Farm has lost supply to a major customer from January 2016, which is integral to the decision to stop production.
Over the past couple of years the Cricketer Farm team have tried to develop more ‘added value’ opportunities to complement their own label products with the launch of the Cheeky Cow brand and penetrating new sectors such as foodservice and exports. However they have been unable to grow these areas quickly enough to ensure a sustainable future.
Market volatility has forced the UK dairy market into a period of uncertainty and consolidation, which is reshaping the industry to be dominated by international dairy powerhouses, focussed on global strategies. This makes it impossible for a business like Cricketer Farm to look ahead with confidence and having suffered significant financial losses over the last financial year, it is not viable to continue with such uncertainty. The Cricketer Farm directors are forced into this conclusion as they see no realistic prospect of cheese prices being at sufficient level to provide satisfactory returns to both processor and farmers.
Cricketer Farm directors are committed to managing the closure diligently and sensitively. They will focus on providing as much support and advice as possible to employees and supplying farmers. Many of the local workforce have been at Cricketer Farm for decades and have been extremely loyal and hard working. Directors will help staff to identify new opportunities throughout the phased exit from the cheese industry. Cricketer Farm will also standby commitments in the contracts with supplying milk producers and hope to identify alternative supply opportunities wherever possible.
The closure is subject to consultation with employees and all employees were fully briefed on these plans on 25th August 2015.”
It is with a heavy heart that I bring you this news because I love Cricketer Farm. I loved its cheese and the values it stood for within the industry. It is sad to think it has been making cheese since the 1940’s and that 70 people will be losing their jobs, but the only thing I can do is pass on my best wishes to all involved and to ask you all to go out and buy Cheeky Cow & Cricketer cheese to help them over the coming months.