An established dairy-farming family has bought a renowned Coast cheese factory with plans to expand its product range.
The sale of Kenilworth Country Foods, which sells cheese, yoghurt and mousse around Australia, was settled on Thursday.
New owners John and Margaret Cochrane, as well as their son and daughter-in-law Kelvin and Ronnie Cochrane, plan to supply the Charles St factory with milk from their Mary Valley farms at Amamoor, Kandanga and Moy Pocket.
They are the first new owners since a group of staff members bought the then-flailing factory from Kraft in 1990.
John Cochrane said his family was into its seventh generation of dairy farming.
They also own real estate, butchery and hospitality businesses.
He said his dairies had been the Kenilworth factory’s sole milk supplier for the past three years.
“We saw it (the purchase) as a natural progression,” Mr Cochrane said.
He would not disclose how much the business cost but said he was excited about expanding into milk sales, with bottles hoped to hit grocery store shelves by August.
New infrastructure is required if the factory is to be capable of achieving its aim of having milk from farm to retail within two days.
“Buying a brand new bottling machine, there will be no change from a million (dollars) out of that,” Mr Cochrane said.
He said the investment was born out of confidence in his dairies’ product.
“Our milk will be quality, it will be local and it will be fresh.”
He said all 40 staff members’ jobs were secure and expected more staff would be needed.
“We intend to grow the business, not shrink it.”
Current tourist attractions including cheese and mousse tasting will remain and be expanded upon with plans to build a dairy museum.
The company already supplies to major supermarket chains and is on sale around Australia.
“We would like to go into more of their stores,” Mr Cochrane said.
He said he had received calls about selling to international markets.
“Asia is an obvious one.”
He said he was excited by the challenge of the new enterprise.
“I know people want to buy local, quality and fresh.”
By: Stuart Cumming
Source: The Gympie Times