Lidl has awarded Dale Farm, the largest UK farmer-owned dairy co-operative, a lead contract to supply cheddar cheese to its stores across the UK, Europe and the United States.
The supply deal represents the single biggest contract awarded by Lidl to a Northern Ireland agri-food company and will see Dale Farm’s locally-made block cheddars, as well as grated and sliced varieties, stocked in some 8,000 stores across 22 countries.
The contract award means Dale Farm, which is headquartered in NI and has multiple processing and manufacturing sites across the UK, will be Lidl’s main cheddar supplier on a global basis. The brand names in Europe are Valley Spire and Milbona.
In turn, the leading retailer now becomes Dale Farm’s biggest cheddar customer.
Arla and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) have agreed to enter into a joint venture that includes the construction of a small dairy plant in the U.S. for cheddar cheese production. In their first collaboration ever, the two farmer-owned cooperatives plan to explore opportunities to build premium-quality standards in the cheddar category, in the world’s biggest cheese market.
Part of the joint venture agreement is the construction of a production site in the western part of New York State, where the eight farms supplying the raw milk are placed. The joint investment is $58m (€53m) of which Arla covers 20 per cent or $11.6m (€10.3m).
The joint venture will be owned 70 per cent by DFA, who also holds the management role, 20 per cent by Arla and 10 per cent by the eight farmers who supply the milk. 30 people are expected to be employed in the joint venture.