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The Buffalo Farm survives but original investors are left out of pocket 

Posted: 6 May 2024

By Patrick McGuigan

The Buffalo Farm

Fife-based mozzarella-maker The Buffalo Farm went into administration in March, before being bought back by founder Steven Mitchell in a “pre-pack” deal that has left investors out of pocket. 

Mitchell raised more than £850,000 for a new dairy via a crowdfunding scheme launched in 2019 called the Founders’ Club, which encouraged people to invest £1,000 or £10,000 with the promise of interest paid in the form of produce from the farm shop in Kircaldy. 

The dairy opened in 2021, supplying buffalo mozzarella to farm shops, delis and Aldi, but Mitchell put the company into administration in March, blaming unsustainable debts caused by issues including Covid, soaring energy bills, TB and the cost-of-living crisis. 

He immediately bought the business back in a pre-pack deal, with help from an unnamed backer, which has secured 60 jobs and the 500-strong buffalo herd at the farm, but has left the original Founders’ Club investors empty handed, with no likelihood of their investment being refunded. 

Many investors vented their anger about the deal in the press. One anonymous individual told The Scottish Farmer they had been left “high and dry”, while another told The Courier she was “disgusted” that her parents had lost their investment.

In an emotional video posted on Facebook, Mitchell said he could understand why people were “hurt and angry”. 

“One of the proudest things I’ve ever achieved was creating that Founders’ Club and it absolutely does not sit comfortably with me where we are today,” he said. “I’m absolutely devastated by it. There is nobody more disappointed to have let so many people down.”

This article first appeared in the May 2024 edition of Fine Food Digest .