Far East ‘Wellcome’ for Fivemiletown Cheese

TYRONE cheese manufacturer Fivemiletown Creamery have secured a major export coup after winning the business from one of Asia’s biggest retail operations.

The North’s only speciality cheese producer, is to supply a range of handcrafted and award winning soft cheeses, including its unique Boilie Irish goats’ cheese, and creamy cheddars to Dairy Farm International Holdings, headquartered in Hong Kong.

Dairy Farm operates major supermarkets in Hong Kong, including the Wellcome chain, the region’s biggest retailer, as well as in Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Fivemiletown already count Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Walmart and Dean and Deluca in the US, and Galeries Lafayette in France among their customers.

However with more than 240 stores and serving more than 14 million customers every month in Hong Kong, the Wellcome business represents a major coup for the Tyrone company in the Far East market.

Dairy Farm and its associates operate some 5,250 outlets, employing over 81,000 people and last year topped $9 billion in total annual sales.

Owen Jones, Fivemiletown Creamery’s business development manager, described the contract, which was secured through a leading distributor as, “A huge boost for the creamery in one of the most dynamic international markets.”

Mr Jones stated, “The contract with Dairy Farm gives us a marvellous springboard for growth in a marketplace which has a rapidly growing and affluent middle class increasingly seeking new taste experiences. China, for instance, already has 960,000 sterling millionaires.

“The nation also has 90 cities each with a middle class of more than a quarter of a million, representing a huge market opportunity for western luxury products including premium cheese.

“We have been supplying oak smoked cheddar sticks to another retail operation in Hong Kong for several years and have been working to develop contacts to strengthen business there especially for our soft bries and Boilie cheeses.

“As a result of our developing focus on exports, we are now selling our soft cheeses in 15 global markets including Hong Kong. Our achievements in these markets brings tangible benefits to the Tyrone and Fermanagh communities in terms of the best prices for high protein milk to our farmers and additional employment opportunities.

“Our rapidly growing success in markets outside Northern Ireland is helping to strengthen employment prospects in Tyrone,” he added.

Source: ulsterherald.com