The Wensleydale Creamery is one of the leading producers of genuine Wensleydale cheese in the UK. The company, based in Hawes in North Yorkshire, uses traditional methods to produce the delicately flavoured crumbly white cheese that requires an extended period of maturation over four to six months and then careful grading.

The company, which has won 250 prizes for cheese over the last five years, also produces other English cheese such as Double Gloucester and Red Leicester but some of their major products at the current time are Wensleydale with cranberries, Wallace and Gromit Wensleydale (after the Nick Park cartoon characters) and blue Wensleydale.

The creamery is also well known as an innovator in the production and waxing of mini cheeses and also blending cheeses, as well as having expertise in the natural smoking of cheese, one of its specialities being oak-smoked Real Yorkshire Wensleydale. The range of Wensleydale cheese is now being marketed through the five major supermarket chains and also Booths supermarkets.

Packaging

Packaging at the plant in Hawes is carried out by hand. The company needed a shelf/chiller-friendly pack that could bear eye-catching graphics to communicate the quality of the products, the Yorkshire origin and also a “rustic feel”. The Wensleydale Creamery decided to find a new packaging format to launch its new white and blue cheeses onto the premium retail market.

After some enquiry and experimentation Smurfit Kappa Composites was alighted on as a company that could provide the solution. In July 2008 Wensleydale Creamery launched the new cheese packaging, which consists of a composite tube. The tubes are produced and printed at the Smurfit Kappa facility in Whitehaven, Cumbria and have been used for a number of products in the past such as whiskey, cosmetics, biscuits, salt and even industrial sealants.

The pack provides protection for delicate products and provides a large surface area for printing graphics for brand enhancement and visual impact at the point of purchase. The tubes are available in a wide range of diameters and produced from recycled chipboard, kraft-liner or polypropylene. They can be round in shape or shaped alternatively. The ends of the tubes can be produced in tinplate or plastic and can be coloured and embossed if required.

Wensleydale application

Smurfit Kappa was able to develop the right packaging for the two new cheeses. A spirally wound cardboard tube was used for the application and printed in six or seven litho colours to give the required graphics. The tube holds a 500g cheese truckle and incorporates two small holes in the body of the tube to allow the cheese to breathe and continue maturation during transport.

“The tube holds a 500g cheese truckle and incorporates two small holes in the body of the tube to allow the cheese to breathe and continue maturation.”

The composite container, which consists of a body, base and lid, is fully recyclable. The body is made of a biodegradable Kraft stock, manufactured from totally recycled fibres, with the inner liner and outer label manufactured from a mix of recycled and virgin fibres.

The tinplate lid and base is sourced from within Europe, containing at least 54% recycled steel. Tubes are produced as a stick of about 1m long. The labels are then printed in six and seven colours and applied before the stick is cut to length. The metal bases are crimped on (seamed) and the lids are supplied loose.

Sandra Bell, marketing manager, Wensleydale Creamery, commented: “We are delighted with the work of Smurfit Kappa Composites; they have delivered a practical pack with real on-shelf presence…Furthermore, this attractive pack can be reused as a storage container, thereby maintaining brand awareness for an extended period.”

The blue cheese variant is packed in a cloth before being placed by hand in the spirally wound composite tube. The white cheese variant is sealed in a polyethylene vacuum pack before being placed in cardboard tube.