Inspirational boss of South Caernarfon Creameries named business person of the year

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The inspirational boss of Wales’s oldest and largest dairy co-operative has been named business person of the year in one Wales’s top business awards after turnover doubled to £50m under his leadership.

Alan Wyn Jones, managing director of South Caernarfon Creameries was awarded the accolade for a decade of achievement in the role, at the 2018 Daily Post Business Awards.

The 48-year-old from the Llyn Peninsula who has been with SCC for over 20 years and MD for the last ten, was praised for his transformational leadership at the helm of SCC, which employs 130 people at Chwilog near Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsula.

It comes during SCC’s 80th year since being set up in 1938 to bring local Welsh farmers together to market their milk.

Alan Wyn Jones, managing director of South Caernarfon Creameries
Alan Wyn Jones, managing director of South Caernarfon Creameries

Under Alan’s leadership turnover at the firm has doubled since he was appointed MD in 2008, to reach the current record of £50m. The current value of milk purchased for its North and mid-Wales farmer members is in excess of £30 million per annum.

Over the last four years SCC has invested £13.5m in a new state-of-the-art cheese production and packing plant at Chwilog. This has resulted in a 25% increase in production, and the winning of several major new contracts.

SCC produces around 13,000 tonnes of cheese a year as well as a range of butter products for the domestic retail, wholesale and export markets using 100% Welsh milk, with each pack traceable back to the farm where it originated.

Products include the flagship Dragon range stocked by supermarkets across the UK as well as independent retailers across Wales, and a host of own-label ranges for UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Lidl, Asda and Morrisons. Their Dragon cheese brand is the No1 selling Welsh cheese brand.

The Daily Post Business Awards recognised high-flying firms and talented entrepreneurs, was held this evening at Bangor University, joint headline sponsors of the awards with the Welsh Government.

The Business Person of the Year Award was sponsored by Bangor University and was among ten awards handed out on the evening, hosted by BBC presenter Nicholas Owen.

Talking about the winner of Business Person of the Year, Professor John G Hughes, Vice Chancellor of Bangor University, said: “Over the last 10 years our winner has helped transform the business from a dairy commodity trading business to a added value one which supplies a host of notable customers including UK supermarket giants Sainsburys, Tesco, Lidl, Asda and Morrisons.

“Thanks to our winner’s vision and leadership, the recently re branded Dragon range is now recognised as the number one Welsh cheese brand.”

Alan Wyn Jones said: “I’m delighted for the company, this is a testament to the hard work of the whole South Caernarfon Creameries team, including our staff and farming members.

“We are excited for the future as we continue to grow and expand our customer base in the UK and abroad, and continue to develop and produce new products using the finest quality Welsh milk.”

Daily Post editor Andrew Campbell welcomed business leaders from across North Wales to the event in the Prichard Jones Hall.

He said: “These awards have been celebrating the best of North Wales business for 24 years and once again it’s a genuine privilege to be stood here.

“The quality of entries has remained unflinchingly high over the years – and this year we saw a record number which is a clear sign that drive, determination and entrepreneurship are alive and kicking in this remarkable region.

“The judging panel was once again impressed by the superb quality of submissions. Whatever the economy and looming Brexit may throw at you, you are refusing to take a backward step.”

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport Ken Skates said: “Huge congratulations to all the businesses, and the many hard working and hugely talented individuals behind them, who have had their success recognised at this year’s Daily Post Business Awards.

“Collectively these businesses make a hugely important contribution to our local economy and also to our communities by providing good quality jobs close to home.

“The Daily Post Business Awards only serve to reinforce that North Wales is home to some of our very best and most exciting businesses.

“As a Welsh Government we are working hard to support businesses of all shapes and sizes to prosper and grow.

“With the range of Welsh Government’s support for new businesses today more comprehensive than it has ever been, I would encourage any budding entrepreneur inspired by the winners of this year’s awards to get in touch with Business Wales to see what support they can access to help them become an award winner of the future.”

SCC has 127 farming members across North and Mid-Wales, including several whose families have been with the co-op for four generations.

Sales reached a record high of £45.1 million for the year to March 2018 and will hit over £50 million in the current year, a 60% increase in the last 2 years. Operating profit for the last year was £2.1 million, up 4.7%.

This meant SCC’s farming members were paid the best milk price in Wales for the second year running, with each receiving 0.5 pence per litre more than the average regional milk price, worth an additional
£5,000 to a one-million litre farmer producer.

A recruitment drive is underway to recruit more farmers as SCC seeks to expand production by more than 60 per cent to 20,000 tonnes within the next three to five years. Exports are also projected to increase from 5% to 15%.

A host of recent innovations in the last year include the development of the new Dragon brand Reduced Fat Cheddar, which won both Supreme Cheese and Best Welsh cheese among 20 awards scooped by SCC at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.