A maker of Wallace & Gromit-endorsed Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese has upped turnover as the benefits of official European protection allowed it to develop sales of its flagship product.

Wensleydale Dairy Products won a campaign to secure protected geographical indication status for its Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese in 2013. The decision means no other cheese-maker outside the Wensleydale area can produce a cheese and call it Yorkshire Wensleydale. It joins the likes of Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cornish pasties in having protected status.

In the year to 31 March 2015, the business reported a 2.9 per cent increase in turnover to £27.1m, although costs incurred from redeveloping its sites meant pre-tax profit fell from £889,020 to £498,224.

The Wensleydale Creamery is nearing the completion of a major £5m investment to consolidate its cheese-making and cheese-blending activities across its two sites.  A new creamery has been built at its site in Hawes, with cheese-making commencing in the new build in March 2015.  Further whey processing equipment is due to be installed and commissioned during 2016. 

Investment at the Hawes site has also enhanced the offering for Wensleydale Dairy Products' visitor centre, with a new interactive Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience, incorporating a new cheese-making viewing gallery.  Its site at Kirkby Malzeard has been redeveloped to focus and develop its cheese-blending and packing facilities.

With the investment drive nearing completion, Wensleydale Dairy Products expects benefits to kick in from 2016 onwards.


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