US – Dairy processor Belton Farm has invested £1.75m (US$1.73m) in the construction of a new specialty cheese cutting and packing facility at its Whitchurch, Shropshire site.

As part of Belton Farms’ longer-term capital investment program to future-proofing the business, the new facility will provide the business with a greater opportunity to adopt new pack sizes and formats and bring its cheese making, maturing, and cutting and packing operations all under one roof.

Justin Beckett, managing director of Belton Farm said the new facility has been purpose-built to enhance further ability to provide the highest levels of product care and customer service.

He added that the facility will also deliver greater efficiencies and operational flexibility allowing the company to offer innovative new pack sizes and formats.

The completion of the new facility will also see activity undertaken by Belton Packing & Logistics at its Wrexham site moved to Belton Farm, with all staff moved to the new facility.

Belton Farm’s existing cheese packing partners will continue to handle the majority of its cheese packing requirements. 

Hiland Dairy acquires Texas-based Borden Dairy to expand footprint

Meanwhile – Hiland Dairy Foods has acquired fellow dairy company Borden’s Texas properties in a move to expand its footprint and support economic development in the Lone Star State.

Borden’s president, Pat Boyle, said the takeover of the Dallas-based dairy behemoth with revenue last year exceeding a billion dollars, will not affect the employment of over 1300 people working for its Texas operations.

Borden has three plants in Texas, located in Austin, Dallas, and Conroe, and produces over 350 million gallons of milk annually, serving about 9,000 schools in the U.S., according to its website.

The Texas company has faced an uncertain future after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020, while its leaders said changing consumer habits and increasing debt were to blame for its recent business woes.

The USDA said in a report released June 21 that Americans have steadily been consuming less milk over the last 70 years, but that trend has rapidly increased in the last decade.

The report said alternatives, like plant-based products, “explain only a small portion” of why Americans are consuming less.

Hiland Dairy Foods Company, which is based in Springfield, Mo., employs over 2,800 people with dairy operations in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

Boyle stated: “We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Hiland Dairy Foods to acquire or assume the leases of our Texas operation assets.”

The assurance from Hiland Dairy to retain the employees and continue business as usual confirmed that this would be a good fit.”

Hiland Dairy first expanded its product distribution to Texas back in 2012 and purchased three plants in Tyler back in 2017, the company said.

Hiland Vice President Rick Beaman added that currently Hilland Dairy is producing and delivering both Hiland and Borden Dairy products and is still continuing to evaluate and determine but has not made any decision on new products.

Hiland plans to keep Elsie, the brown and white cow associated with Borden, on products in Texas, citing Elsie’s strong brand presence and value to consumers.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro-industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.