The Cornish Cheese Company
When Philip and Carol Stansfield moved their dairy herd from Cheshire to Cornwall in 1995, being world champion cheese producers wasn’t on the radar.
However, when the price of milk collapsed in 2000, they needed to replace this lost income. The question was asked, “What dairy product uses the most amount of milk”. The answer – cheese!
They identified a gap in the market to produce a creamy blue cheese. Philip went back to agricultural college to learn how to make cheese and after many attempts to create the perfect flavour, they launched their Cornish Blue cheese in 2001.
Being on top of the world presents new challenges
To help raise the profile and to sell more cheese, Philip and Carol attended lots of shows and entered various food industry awards. The ultimate accolade came in 2010 when their Cornish Blue cheese was crowned World Champion. It was also runner up in 2011 which was unprecedented for any cheese to do so.
However, this massive achievement created a new problem - keeping up with the demand for sales. Overnight Cornish Blue became hugely popular, and the family was struggling to keep up with demand. In addition to selling the cheese to local wholesalers, the cheese was also selling to supermarkets, delis, cafes and restaurants nationwide. The Stansfield’s made further investments into the dairy and expanded the production facility.
Time (and cheese) wait for no man
The covid pandemic was nearly catastrophic for the business. Overnight their orders to hospitality businesses and many shops were cancelled. Their storerooms were full of maturing cheeses and those ready to be sold. They had to do something and fast. With the assistance of their son, Ben, they developed their website and online sales. They were able to clear the storeroom and expand their reach to consumers across the UK.
Philip retired from farming in 2020 and sold off the dairy herd. However, they continue to source their milk from local farmers.
New lines and further developments
The Cornish Cheese Company now offers ‘Cornish Nanny’, which is made from goats’ milk and more recently has added a ‘Cornish Brie’ to its range. In order to further expand the new range the family has invested into the construction of a ‘white’ dairy, so that blue and white cheese production is done separately.
Improving their online presence has not only helped the company to grow its customer base across the UK, but it has also opened up new markets overseas. They are currently developing their export market to America, Canada, the Middle East and Australia.
Future plans also include doing educational tours so that visitors can see how the cheese is made and how small scale producers are very different to the massive manufacturing cheese production units.
Business support every step of the way
Ben Stansfield said, “Over the years, we have benefited greatly from the knowledge and expertise provided by Haines Watts. They have been instrumental in helping us to secure funding for our expansions. They put us in touch with the right people and made sure we weren’t paying too much for any finance we secured. The team at Haines Watts are always very personable and easy to work with. They know us well and understand our business and have helped us to develop from a farm into the successful enterprise we now have.”