A COUNTY Durham dairy has created 10 jobs after landing a £10m-a-year contract with a milk doorstep delivery company.
Lanchester Dairies, the region’s biggest independent dairy, will provide around 13.2 million litres a year to Blaydon-based Hanover Dairies, which has around 120 delivery rounds from Alnwick to Catterick.
Lanchester’s general manager Barry Peacock said he was delighted to have secured the deal.
“We started to negotiate last November,” he said. “He was with a company in Liverpool – Dairy Crest – and all the milk was coming from Liverpool.
“We’ve taken that on and cut out the 300-mile a day round trip. Everything now is local.
“It is great news for us, and for our staff and suppliers and it will mean we take more milk from local farms. It is great that we are also supplying another family run North East company.
“We have already taken on about 10 new staff – drivers and workers in refrigeration, loading and production – all from around the area.”
The contract is in addition to the 20 million litres-plus that Lanchester already processes on an annual basis.
Peacock said: “We have a broad customer base covering milkmen, local shops, national supermarkets, food manufacturers, cafes, pubs, restaurants and nursing homes.
“We’re also the Asda hub in the North East, supplying local products to 24 Asda stores and to 16 Tescos.
“We have 40 trucks making 600 drops a day.” The business was originally a dairy farm and owners Billy and Julie Austin diversified in the early 1990s to incorporate a small milk processing plant.
The business grew and around the turn of the millennium, the family decided to sell the dairy herd and concentrate on milk processing.
The buildings were converted from agricultural to industrial use, with the area previously used to milk the cows turned into a modern filling hall with refrigeration facilities and undercover parking for refrigerated vehicles.
Lanchester Dairies started collecting raw milk from local farms using its own tankers in 2005.
The business is a member of local not-for-profit membership food group Taste North East, which works with producers seeking to win new business.
Peacock said: “Lanchester is a family business and we’re very much about supporting the local economy.
“We’re members of Taste North East, which supports local food and drink producers and we’re very committed to what they do too.”