The country’s changing dietary habits are helping a Chester company to become one of the most successful firms of its type in the UK.
Growing consumer demand for skimmed and semi-skimmed milk means the rise in the volume of excess cream available in the UK has helped put Meadow Foods at the forefront of the dairy products market.
Established in 1992, Meadow Foods, based in Marlston Cum Lache, is the UK’s leading supplier of dairy ingredients to the food and drink industry.
At the start of this year, it acquired West Lakes Dairy Park, which allowed the company to double the amount of milk it buys and the business now processes more than 400m litres per year at its own production sites in Chester and Yorkshire.
The acquisition, combined with organic growth, has boosted Meadow Foods’ turnover to £250m.
Unlike other dairy businesses, Meadow Foods focuses on ingredients not liquid milk and is the UK’s only independent manufacturer of sweetened dairy products such as chocolate crumb and condensed milk and is the country’s largest producer of anhydrous milk fat (AMF). The milk, cream and sweetened dairy products are consumed by millions of people every day in a wide range of foods from ice cream, yoghurt, chocolate and confectionery to ready meals, pastry, soups, sauces, biscuits and cakes.
The man responsible for engineering Meadow Foods’ ongoing growth is managing director, Paul Deakin, who joined the company three years ago.
He said: “One of the facts of nature is that cows produce more milk during the spring and summer. During these periods of oversupply dairy ingredients are plentiful and the market is competitive. But come the autumn a lot of suppliers for whom ingredients are not key, pull out of the market, leaving customers short.
“Our unique focus on ingredients, combined with a strong community of 400 farmers, means that we can also guarantee supplies for our customers throughout the autumn and winter.
“I believe that this year-round stability is why we remain the UK’s leading supplier of dairy ingredients to the food and drink market.”
He added: “Meadow Foods doesn’t just have to respond to changes in the dairy industry but also those in food manufacturing as a whole. Our ability to react quickly, meet peaks in demand and capitalise on gaps in the market has been vital to securing growth.
“Our employees – most of whom have been farmers themselves or have worked in the food manufacturing industry – are fiercely committed to supporting the industry and their suggestions often lead us to explore new product areas or routes to market.”