Clandeboye Yoghurt opens £2m creamery to boost growth

Co Down-based Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt has opened a £2m creamery with capacity to quadruple production and grow sales, potentially moving into new markets.

The new site on the Clandeboye Estate sees the company moving from its original incubator site at Ards Business Hub after 15 years of sustained growth.

Clandeboye has grown between 30- 40% year a year since its inception in 2007, with the new purpose-built factory enabling the business to continue developing and seeking out new markets.

“When we first came to Ards Business Hub, we had two staff and processed 300 litres of milk each week,” said Bryan Boggs, general manager. “Now we employ 20 people and process 6000 litres per day.

“It had always been our dream to build a sustainable business on the Clandeboye Estate, powered by green energy, using milk from our own herd.”

The business was the idea of the late Lady Dufferin who hired Boggs, an experienced food technician, to create an artisan yoghurt using milk from her herd of pedigree Holstein and Jersey cows.

After developing the process at Loughry College, Boggs took a unit at Ards Business Hub to start production and prove there was a market for the locally made yogurt.

“As a small start-up, we didn’t want to risk a long-term lease and the unit at Ards allowed us to trial the product,” said Boggs. “Plus, all the food production units are fully serviced so there was no additional investment in the site needed.”

Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt started in a single unit with its first sales from a stall at St George’s Market. As it began to supply the Hastings Hotel Group and then all the major supermarkets in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it took an additional three units.

Now with the new creamery allowing for increased capacity, the company is looking into new markets, particularly in England, Scotland and Wales, which would require a massive increase in production.

“Our close-knit team has played a hugely important role in this move and this new purpose-built factory will allow us to grow further. We are right on the parkland at Clandeboye and can see the cows that produce our milk out the window, so it’s a real farm to spoon journey,” he said.

Nichola Lockhart, CEO of Ards Business Hub, said: “Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt is one of Northern Ireland’s true food heroes.

“They had a clear vision to create an artisan product and built their business through quality, hard work and dedication. Ards Business Hub is a social enterprise, and our aim is to help businesses grow and flourish and we are delighted with the success of this company.”

All food production businesses are located within the Hub’s Strangford Park site, including Arctic Cubes, A Slice of Heaven, Mike’s Fancy Cheese, Bara Bakehouse and Hill’s Mixtape, have access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Nichola Lockhart, CEO of Ards Business Hub, with Bryan Boggs, general manager, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, and Cookie the cow.