Being a co-operative of 57 dairy farmers, Isle of Man Creameries measures its success not in profit but in terms of the price per litre it pays to its farmer members.
Following a record-breaking 2005, it lays claim to paying the fourth-highest price for milk, at 20p per litre, the most it has paid for almost a decade.
Only 20% of the milk it receives is sold to islanders in liquid form. Most of the rest is turned into cheese, which is shipped to mainland Britain and Ireland to be sold nationally in the big four multiples as well as SuperValu, Booths and The Co-operative Group stores.
A change of direction from making mild cheese and yoghurt to producing premium 10-12-month-old mature ingredient-added white Cheddar six years ago led to a rapid increase in sales.
Last year the company sold 578 tonnes of cheese outside the Isle of Man, compared with 320 tonnes in 2004 and only one tonne in 2001. "Last year was record-breaking in terms of the level of sales of premium cheeses outside the Isle of Man, the level of sales within the Isle of Man itself, and the producer price we paid," says company director of finance Stephen Keeley.
"We are too small to compete with other UK dairies on cost alone, so it is vital that we have the highest quality products and compete in the premier niche markets."
Keeley says that Isle of Man Creameries insists on high standards from all its milk producers. "If their milk falls outside certain parameters we can penalise producers quite heavily, which gives us good control over what comes in.
"What really differentiates our cheese from some other ingredient-added cheeses
is that we use only the very best cheese."