This Lancashire company which helps cheese makers export has won one of the top business awards in the land

A Lancashire firm which helps cheese makers find success in overseas markets has won a coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 3:53 pm

The award, seen as a royal seal of approval for businesses, was for Cheese Matters Ltd, a small, Garstang-based dairy exporting company which picked up the honour for International Trade.

From an idea hatched at The Royal Oak in Garstang over a couple of pints, John Carr and his now managing director David Orchard have built a business reputation among some of the most prestigious cheese makers and retailers around the world.

It was founded in 2017 and despite having to battle the problems caused by the Covid pandemic, in four years, Cheese Matters has grown sales to just under 1,000 tonnes per year, exporting British cheeses around the world from the likes of Dewlay in Garstang, Proctors in the Ribble Valley, Cropwell Bishop of Nottingham and Extons of Manchester.

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Cheese Matters' John Carr, left, pictured with Nick Kenyon from Dewlay

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John, who has 30 years experience in the industry, and the team won the award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth after increasing international sales by 80 per cent between 2018 and 2021.

John, who has won an OBE for export success, said: “It’s a real credit to my team and the Lancashire cheese making community.

"I can’t tell you how much we owe this award to the Kenyon family of Dewlay Cheesemakers as well as Tim and Sue Procter of Kick Ass Cheeses for their support from the very beginning of Cheese Matters.

The team from Cheese Matters, pictured at a recent trade show, has won a Queen's Award for exports

“We have an absolute wealth of talent on our doorstep that has made this possible.

“Our legal team at Harrison Drury advised us on establishing Cheese Matters, Mick Gornall at Towers and Gornall has helped and advised while we continue to grow internationally, and the rest has been down to my hardworking team and family support.

The firm has a subsidiary in Holland for distribution within the EU.

David Orchard said: “What we do in Holland is replicate our U.K. operation. So, we have Harry, a Dutch cheese legend on our board, and we operate out of offices owned by Ewoud, a great supporter of ours from the very outset.”

The firm helps British cheese makers export worldwide

Lucy Holmes, the third member of the team, said: “Cheese Matters is a super lovely company to work for. You feel involved, appreciated and listened to. Our regular weekly catch-up at The Clockwork Cafe in Caterall is always a relaxed affair - and they make great camomile tea too!”

Recently, Cheese Matters was involved in shipping cheese donated for Ukraine to reception centres in Poland, Romania and Germany, helping to feed refugees from the Russian invasion.