Posted: 20/03/2020

White Lake launches expansion plan after Humphries departs

Somerset-based White Lake Cheese is set to expand significantly under the sole ownership of Roger Longman, after he bought out co-founder Pete Humphries last month.

Longman, who started the business with Humphries in 2004, told FFD that he plans to invest more than £500,000 in new buildings in order to triple capacity. 

The company currently makes 30 cheeses, processing around 600,000 litres of milk a year, but plans to increase to 2 million litres by growing the farm’s 600-strong herd of goats and working closely with its ewe and cows’ milk suppliers.

Humphries told FFD that the deal would allow him to take a sabbatical for a few months, but that he would “pursue new challenges in the cheese world” when he returned. 

Around 90% of White Lake’s production is goats’ cheese, including best sellers Rachel and Driftwood, but it’s the company’s sheep’s milk cheeses that have won the Supreme Champion title at the British Cheese Awards for three years running. 

Longman said he planned to boost production of these lines, and hoped that they would soon account for 20% of sales (up from just 8%), after expanding later this year. He is also researching mozzarella production and is looking at long-matured cheeses.

“We’ve hit our limit and plenty of people would be happy with the size we are, but I see huge growth opportunities, especially with Brexit,” he said. “We look at French cheesemakers as our competition and if tariffs start being slapped on cheeses, we will need the extra capacity to fill that slack in the market.”

This story appeared in the March issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

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