Trewithen clotted cream

Cornish processor Trewithen Dairy enjoyed an 8% surge in turnover for the 52 weeks to 30 April as it posted total sales of £32m, latest accounts have shown.

The family-run business also saw branded sales rise by 16% to more than £11m as it fought off a “competitive trading environment” to focus on “strengthening its core business positioning and capabilities”, it said. Trewithen produces branded and own label Cornish fresh milk, clotted cream, pouring creams, Cornish butter and yoghurt.

Sales were boosted by new contract wins in retail and foodservice and the further expansion of a network of regional wholesalers, while the supplier was also able to leverage its acquisition of the goodwill and customer base of Yarty Valley Dairies to further expand its reach into East Devon and Somerset.

However, the increase in sales volume was offset by a decrease in the average retail sales price of milk in line with deflation experienced across the dairy sector, Trewithen said, particularly in the first half of the financial year.

This, along with investment in the company’s core business positioning, and varied marketing activity - including new vehicle livery, a new website and a subtle brand refresh - led to a slight fall in year-on-year operating profit, from £979,000 to £663,000.

“For much of the financial period, UK farmgate milk prices continued to be under significant pressure, with the start of a welcome recovery only being witnessed during the second half,” it said.

“Despite this challenging environment, the business maintained its commitment to supporting its dedicated group of 25 Cornish dairy farmers. Its milk price remained highly competitive throughout the year and overall, it paid a premium above a basket of south west milk buyers’ prices.”

Bill Clarke, the chairman of Cornish Farm Dairy, which trades as Trewithen, said: “During the year the business continued to perform well: financially, operationally and commercially. In particular, we made good progress with regards to the delivery of our long-term strategic business plan, which is focused on improving our operational capabilities and efficiencies; enhancing our customer and branded value-added product mix; and growing business outside of our core heartland of the south west.

“In the current financial year, we are continuing to see good growth in both our customer-label and Trewithen Dairy branded range. We have exciting development plans in the pipeline which will complement the winning of significant new business - the effect of which will be seen in the coming years.”