Growth plan for Rachel's after purchase by Lactalis

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The new French owners of an organic dairy firm in Ceredigion say they are looking to expand into new markets.

Rachel's was bought by Groupe Lactalis in the summer and there had been fears that jobs among the workforce of 120 in Aberystwyth were under threat.

But Steve Clarke, Rachel's marketing director, said the new owners were looking to invest to promote growth.

He added that the UK market was the priority but expansion into the rest of Europe was being considered.

Rachel's is one of the largest private sector employers in the town.

Mr Clarke said: "They [Lactalis] very much share the vision that we have always had that we want to become a significant, if not the leading player in premium chilled organic dairy [products] here in the UK.

"So they're very much here to help invest in us to drive that kind of growth."

He said Rachel's management had met its Lactalis counterparts and they were now planning for "next year and the years ahead".

"They love the brand and what it stands for, and see it as having huge potential," he said.

'Growth potential'

"They've bought us because we're organic and, hitherto, Lactalis didn't have a huge business in organic in Europe, and now they have because they've bought Rachel's.

"The third thing they've done is they've bought something they believe has tremendous growth potential whether that's in the UK or in Europe."

He added that sales were "going pretty well", with a 15% rise expected this year.

Rachel's can trace its origins back to a farm in the village of Borth, near Aberystwyth.

Company founders Gareth and Rachel Rowlands saw their brand go from strength to strength before they sold it to an American firm. Since then, it has been sold twice more.

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