THE opening of a revolutionary £20m cheese factory will have a major impact on the Welsh dairy industry for generations to come.
Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd paid a visit to Mona Island Dairy on Anglesey and was delighted to see progress made ahead of its unveiling in the coming weeks.
With recruitment for 15 key staff underway and senior management in place, the 25,000 sq ft development is approaching completion and will be capable of producing 7,000 tons of Welsh and continental cheeses every year.
The Minister praised Managing Director Ronald Akkerman and the team for their commitment to building the most innovative and ground-breaking cheese facility in Europe on Welsh soil, supported by a £3m grant from Welsh Government.
She added: “It’s been great to visit Mona Dairy, there is real potential for it to boost our dairy industry.
“As the first zero carbon emissions cheese plant in Europe it is a cutting-edge development with Wales’s food and drink industry once again a leading light.
“I’m delighted the Welsh Government supported this development and we all look forward to its opening this Spring.”
Based on Mona Industrial Park, the net-zero dairy will be powered by renewable energy and raise standards by implementing traditional and cutting-edge methods to manufacture Edam, Gouda, Cheddar, and a range of artisan cheeses using milk from local farms.
Ms Griffiths was joined on a tour of the factory by Mr Akkerman, Chairman David Wynne-Finch, and Dr Graham Jackson.
Production is expected to begin in June, and milk will be sourced from more than 40 Welsh dairy farmers within the first year of opening.
“It was a pleasure to have the Minister with us today and the opportunity to showcase these incredible facilities,” said Mr Akkerman.
“We are on course to open later this Spring as planned and are currently advertising to fill 15 operational roles in the weeks ahead, with a further eight this summer.
“By 2023 we will have a workforce of 100 or more people in place delivering new and innovative methods never seen before in cheese processing.”
He added: “We are already receiving positive feedback and there has been a lot of interest around the opening of Mona Island Dairy from prospective customers, potential job candidates and the food and drink sector, here in the UK and internationally.
“The foundations have been laid and now it’s just a matter of applying the finishing touches and ensuring we have the right people in place, so everything is ready for launch.
“We can’t wait to get started and thank everyone for their support, especially the rural community here on Anglesey.”