Dairy Crest has extended its own-label relationship with Marks & Spencer, after winning a contract to supply the premium retailer with Cheddar for its Simply range.
The range comprises block, sliced and grated Cheddar and was previously supplied through Arla. Dairy Crest’s production will be based at its Davidstow creamery in Cornwall.
The new supply deal came into force in April but was revealed only last week in Dairy Crest’s annual results.
Prior to April, the processor had already produced Cheddar for M&S’s Cove and Cruncher own-label ranges. In addition to the Cheddar it buys through Dairy Crest, M&S is also supplied with regional and farmhouse Cheddar from small cheesemakers including Westcombe and Goulds.
“We’re pleased to be working with Dairy Crest on our Simply Cheddar,” a spokeswoman for M&S said. “It’s a great everyday cheese and really popular with our customers.”
Dairy Crest primarily produces branded Cheddar, including the market-leading Cathedral City, but supplies own-label cheese to M&S and Waitrose. In its results statement for the 12 months to 31 March 2014, the dairy reported total revenue of £1,391m, up 1% year on year, while profits stood at £65.3m - up 31% - boosted by property sales. Profit from continuing operations was £48m compared with a loss of £7.9m in 2012/13. Sales of Cathedral City increased 12% by value and 9% by volume, moving its market share of retail cheese from 10% to 11%.