A long-standing creamery in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, renowned for its production of speciality cheeses, is set to close after an operational review by Arla Foods concluded that ceasing production was the best course of action.

The site, locally known as Tuxford and Tebbutt, employs around 60 workers who have been directly affected by this decision.

Fran Ball, Arla’s vice president of production, announced that the company is now entering a ‘period of consultation’ with the impacted employees.

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"Our priority right now is to support our colleagues impacted during this challenging period," she stated, emphasising the cooperative's commitment to its workers amid this transition.

The operational review, admitted in January, aimed to find a potential buyer for the creamery. Despite remaining operational throughout the review, no suitable buyer has been found. Arla remains dedicated to exploring the market for any future opportunities.

Ms. Ball acknowledged the uncertainty this announcement brings for the employees and reiterated the cooperative's support for them during this period of change.

She noted that the UK speciality cheese market, which includes Stilton, has been in decline over the past few years, influencing Arla’s decision to re-evaluate their business strategies to ensure fair pricing for their 2,000 UK farmer owners.

The closure of the Melton Mowbray creamery marks a significant shift in the region’s dairy production landscape, reflecting broader trends in the speciality cheese market and the challenges faced by producers in maintaining economic sustainability.