Stateside success for Lye Cross Farm

Lye Cross Farm has secured a deal in the US estimated to generate more than £1.5 million in turnover within the next 12 months.

Bristol-based farm and cheesemaker, Lye Cross Farm, has secured additional business in the US which is estimated to generate more than £1.5 million in turnover within the next 12 months. The deal will see the company ship its certified 100% Grass-fed Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese to the country. 

Initially launching in 30 grocery stores in California, the company expects to see its cheese in up to 1,000 stores by the end of 2019. This has the potential to double Lye Cross Farm’s business in the US. 

The cheese has been made specifically for the US market after the business discovered that US buyers prefer creamier cheeses with a more distinct yellow colouring. 

The award-winning brand is owned by the Alvis family, who produce a selection of Cheddar, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester and have been making West Country cheese since 1952. The family owns three dairy farms which are home to the 1,200 dairy cows that provide the milk used in their selection of cheeses.

As part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) are supporting many businesses to take the leap and sell their food and drink products abroad. The campaign is a cross-departmental initiative to showcase the calibre of UK food and drink overseas and help companies build new exporting relationships.  

Lye Cross Farm has now received funding support from Defra and DIT to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Southern California in March 2019 to showcase its new product and meet other potential buyers. 

The company has been exporting its cheeses for around 20 years and implemented a focussed export strategy eight years ago. A third of its total cheese sales now come from exported goods and it trades in more than 40 countries worldwide with its latest wins in Germany, Poland, Maldives and Austria. 

Ben Hutchins, Sales and Marketing Director, said:

“2018 was a monumental year for our business. Last year, our director and owner, John Alvis, received an OBE for services to cheese exports, farming and rural communities and we’ve recently hired an additional exports administrator. With so many milestones achieved, it seemed like the right time to expand our operations in the US.

“We’ve been working with the team at DIT for the past eight years and our International Trade Adviser has always been on hand to offer guidance and support on how to enter new markets and attend international trade shows. There is nothing quite like meeting a potential buyer face-to-face and having them try your products first-hand. There is support out there, so my advice to any business would be to tap into the global appetite for British-made goods. 

“If we can do it, so can other ambitious South West businesses.” 

Lye Cross Farm has recently been recognised for their excellence with a Board of Trade Award, which recognises international success and was presented to the business by Secretary of State for International and President of The Board of Trade, The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP.

Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Exports in the South West, said:

“The South West has a rich heritage for food and drink produce, particularly for dairy, which the region is known for across the globe. Lye Cross Farm is a great example of a brand that’s using its West Country provenance to capture the imagination of international buyers. 

“We know from working with a wide range of South West producers that those who export are more resilient, successful and profitable than their non-exporting counterparts, but we also understand that exporting isn’t without it’s challenges.

“That’s why we have a team of International Trade Advisers based in the South West and specialists in more than 100 countries to guide firms through the entire exporting process. Our advisers can help companies target new territories and advise them on matters such as tax, regulation and logistics.”

  • How to get started

    To find out if there's demand for your product or service in global markets and what you need to do next, contact our International Trade Centre today. Submit your enquiry now and one of our export experts will be in touch to help in any way they can.

    Call us on 01275 370 944

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  • Join the Great British Food Programme today!

    If you're a food and drink company based in the South West of England and are looking to grow your business sign up to our dedicated programme today. List your company on the online directory and start meeting international buyers at  'Meet the Buyer' events taking place throughout the year.

  • The South West's total food & drink exports were valued at £823.2 million in 2018 according to the latest HMRC figures.