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Wholesaler consolidation continues as Rowcliffe buys Hawkridge

Posted: 1 October 2023

By Patrick McGuigan

Hawkridge Farmhouse Dairy Produce Rowcliffe
Hawkridge Farmhouse Dairy Produce

Cheese importer and distributor Anthony Rowcliffe has acquired Devon-based Hawkridge Farmhouse Dairy Produce – the latest in a string of takeovers involving cheese wholesalers in the UK.

Rowcliffe took over familyowned regional wholesaler Hawkridge last month as part of a strategy to develop its business with independent retailers. First set up in 1976, Crediton-based Hawkridge has a 50-strong workforce and supplies dairy products to delicatessens, farm shops, specialist retailers and caterers across the South West.

The business will be run as a subsidiary, managed by former owners and brothers Simon and Daniel Baker. Rowcliffe MD Sunit Mehta said the acquisition was and “exciting” oppoortunity. “This will give Rowcliffe the ability to serve customers in the South West with our own vehicles, along with numerous other synergies. The Hawkridge acquisition gives us an opportunity to work closely with our common and potential suppliers, provide enhanced service to customers, both new and existing, and to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the UK cheese market, which is leading to greater consolidation. Rowcliffe was itself acquired by Lactalis this year as part of the multinational’s deal to buy parent company Ambrosi.

In August, Somerset cheddar-maker Barber’s took over cheese export business Somerdale International, while Lancashire-based Carron Lodge bought Singletons out of administration at the start of the year and has also acquired cheesemakers including Cheddar Gorge and Ribblesdale in recent years.

Bradburys has invested in cheesemakers including Yorkshire Pecorino and the Northumberland Cheese Company.

This article first appeared in the October-November 2023 edition of Fine Food Digest.