Long Clawson Dairy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Long Clawson Dairy's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Long Clawson Dairy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Ashley Reek, managing director
Cheese-making for
over 107 years
Long Clawson Dairy is one of the few remaining independent
farming co-operatives left in Britain. Using milk from its own
farms, it has been handcrafting award-winning cheese since
1911 and now sells to over 40 countries worldwide. Production
of Stilton cheese is at the heart of Long Clawson Dairy’s story.
From producing its first cheese back in 1911, it has grown
steadily and now supplies around 65 per cent of the 9,000
tonnes global market for the product.
Stilton itself is certified by the European Union as a Product of Designated Origin
(PDO). This means it can only be made in the three counties of Leicestershire,
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The PDO certification also dictates that Stilton
can only be made to an original recipe and process, resulting in a very traditional
handcrafted product.
Aside from Stilton, we produce other cheeses such as White Stilton (without the
blue veining), Rutland Red (a cloth-bound, six-month-matured Leicestershire Red)
and a range of blended cheeses, such as Cotswold and Huntsman, which are big
sellers in the US.
We are currently midway through a £25million investment in its facilities. The
investment is to provide additional capacity for export sales, which now represent
over 20 per cent of a turnover of £60million, as well as efficiency projects to
automate non-cheese-making parts of the process.
»Managing director: Ashley Reek
»Established in 1911 by 7 local
»Based in Long Clawson,
»Services: Cheese-making
»No. of employees: 400
»Turnover: £60million
»Remains an independent,
farmer-owned co-operative
»We make over 100 different
»Our Stilton cheese has won
Supreme Champion at the
Global Cheese Awards in
2014, 2016 and 2017
Long Clawson Dairy
Highlighting best practice
Quality comes naturally
Cheese-making in the modern world
is a blend of science and art, which
can only be gained over years of
experience. The process starts with
A key part of our strategy is working
as closely as possible with our farmers,
as their milk is the main ingredient in
all of our cheeses. This involves every
aspect of dairy farming, from animal
welfare to feeding regimes, to ensure
we get the right-quality milk delivered
to the dairy.
We have 45 supplying farms, almost
all within 25 miles of our base north
of Melton Mowbray. The majority are
members of the co-operative or are
in the process of becoming members.
This relatively small group enables us
to ensure standards are maintained
and also the farmers are fully engaged
with the business and what we are
striving to achieve. We also use our
own fleet of vehicles to collect the
milk, guaranteeing the milk arrives at
the dairy as fresh as possible, but also
to give us greater control of traffic
movements to minimise any disruption
on the local community.
Once delivered, all the milk is
pasteurised to ensure safety, and it is
then transferred into the cheese vats.
From there, starters and rennet are
added to separate the curd and whey
and the cheese begins to form. All of
our Stilton is hand-turned and every
cheese is graded to ensure the highest
standards of quality before leaving
Brexit: Risks and opportunities
The PDO status of Stilton, managed
by the EU, is fundamental to both
the commercial and operational
management of our business. Brexit,
therefore, has major implications for
our business. Commercially the PDO
is very important to demonstrate
to consumers the provenance of
food and drink to which it applies
– this includes other specialist
products such as Champagne and
Working closely with our
farmers is fundamental
weakening of
the pound
helps exports
but labour
gets ever
Parma ham. Fromanoperational
perspective, however, the PDO
inherently leads to some inefficiency
as traditional methods have to be used
Fortunately for Stilton we do have
some protection from Certificated
Trade Marks (CTMs) in most countries
we deal with. These CTMs largely
mirror the PDO and include the process
elements. In addition, the Champagne
market is many times the size of Stilton
– presenting a key risk for the EU if
PDOs were abolished.
Where Brexit really throws up risks and
opportunities for us is its impact on
the wider economy. On one hand, the
weakening of the pound enables more
competitive exports and also means
that imported cheese becomes more
expensive. However, the flip side is that
we have seen a significant reduction in
labour availability and quality of those
applying for roles since the vote to
leave the EU back in 2016.
What do the next 107 years
look like?
Our core principle is that product
quality can never be compromised.
We have to find ways to address
challenges, while ensuring our
consumers’ experience continues to be
as good as it has always been.
We are now exploring science more
intensively to understand our product
and develop new processes. A
particular area of focus is movement
of product throughout the creamery
and how we can improve efficiency to
reduce the risk of labour shortages.
Alongside investment in facilities,
to ensure we continue to grow
sales of our cheeses we are adding
additional resource to our export
team and developing new products
specifically designed for different uses.
Theyhaverecently developed Stilton
slices that melt onto burgers, aimed at
the food service market in the US.
This innovation combined with
our history, farm ownership and
cheese-making credentials offer a
real story and point of difference in
overseas markets, where historically
cheese-making has been a largely
Key for Long Clawson is that we take
our farmers with us and through
adding value to their milk we enable
them to reinvest back into their
businesses. Through this partnership,
we can look forward to the next 107
years for both Long Clawson Dairy and
the farmers that are an integral part of
the co-operative.
with our
making history
creates a real
point of
difference in
markets such
as the US
» Stilton – Blue-veined cheese, made in a variety of formats from
8kg whole cheese to 25g slices
» Rutland Red – A buttered, cloth-bound aged Leicestershire Red,
matured for around six months
» White Stilton with fruit – Blended with fruit such as cranberries
or apricots – perfect for those with a sweet tooth
» Cotswold – Our unique recipe of Double Gloucester with Onions
and Chives, to give a savoury kick
» Huntsman – Layers of Double Gloucester and Stilton give a visually
stunning cheese with a smooth flavour
Finding new ways to
make an age-old recipe


This article was sponsored by Long Clawson Dairy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister