Something Interesting Happening in the World of Goat Milk

We buy in the region of 175,000 litres of goat milk a year;  sourcing a consistent supply throughout the year has presented problems to us in the past.  The availability of local, good quality goat milk lies very close to my heart, for without it, we would rapidly come unstuck.  We have been with our current supplier for a couple of years now and I like to think we have a good relationship with them: we pay them on time and we receive fresh, good quality goat milk.  So it is with acertain amount of interest that I discovered that St Helens, a huge York based goat milk processor has been acquired.

There are two major goat dairy product players in the UK: Delamere and St Helens.  I reckon, between them, they must have a significant market share of not only all British goat cheese, butter and milk sold in the supermarkets but also, and very importantly, UK goat dairy farmers supplying them.  It is this that particularly interests and worries me.

I learned yesterday that Norwegian company Kavli, who are best known for the Primula brand have taken over St Helens.  What will Kavli’s presence in the UK market mean for St Helens’ competitors, their and other UK goat farmers under contract, the availability of British goat milk for cheese makers, including us and the position of goat cheese in supermarkets?

This is what St Helens say:

We are pleased to announce that St Helen’s Farm is now part of the Kavli Group, which is best known in the UK for its Primula cheese and Castle MacLellan brands. The Group is owned by the Kavli Trust, based in Norway, which is a charitable organisation set up to use profits from the group’s commercial activities to support good causes both in the UK and around the world – ranging from fair-trade and culture to health and education projects.

All activities at St Helen’s Farm and dairy continue as normal and we remain dedicated to supplying fresh British goats’ milk products to our customers every day…but if there is anything you’d like to ask, then feel free to call us on 01430 861715 or email info@sthelensfarm.co.uk.

This is the official press release for it, filched from Just-Food:

Kavli, the cheese spread and dip manufacturer, has acquired UK goats milk product manufacturer St Helen’s Farm.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, represents a “major step forward” for Norway-based Kavli, it said. The addition of St Helen’s will allow Kavli to expand its presence in the UK dairy market.

“This acquisition demonstrates the confidence that the Kavli Group has in the UK and as part of on-going strategy we will continue to look for opportunities that build our position in added value sectors of the dairy market in the future,” said Kavli UK managing director Paul Lewney.

“We are determined to succeed in our ambition to grow Kavli in the UK and whilst doing so make it a sustainable, world-class business which generates significant profits for the Kavli Trust to distribute to good causes.”

The St Helen’s Farm dairy, located in the Vale of York, employs around 40 staff and produces goats’ milk, cheese, cream, butter, yoghurts and ice-cream for supply to supermarkets across the UK.

Kavli employs 190 people across two manufacturing sites, one based at Team Valley in Gateshead and the other at Kirkcudbright in south-west Scotland. The company produces a range of food items including cheese spreads, snacks and ambient dips under the Primula brand and chilled pâté under the Castle MacLellan brand and for private-label customers.

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