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The Village dairy that’s become cream of the crop

It’s nearly thirty years since Gareth Roberts decided to start experimenting with new milk products on his Denbighshire farm.


Llior Radford, partner of Llaeth y Llan / Village Dairy

It’s nearly thirty years since Gareth Roberts decided to start experimenting with new milk products on his Denbighshire farm. Diversification was not such a well used phrase at the time but that didn’t stop Gareth and Falmai, his wife, exploring the possibilities, and what is now a household brand name, Llaeth y Llan, was born.

Originally a two person operation the company now employs 25 people and has been named as one of twenty five dedicated food and drink ambassadors that the ‘Future Skills… food for thought’ campaign is recruiting, who can be held up as shining examples of the direct benefits of training employees and providing opportunities for continued, practical learning. Ambassadors will also highlight the importance of key workplace skills across the entire food and drink supply chain, from agriculture through to manufacturing, retail and hospitality.

While Gareth and Falmai still play a role in the running of Llaeth y Llan the day to day management is handled much more by the younger generation, Llior Radford and her brother Owain Roberts.

The original ethos, however, of producing good quality yoghurt while using local Welsh wholesome milk, is still ingrained in the workforce according to Llior,

A few years ago we decide to rebrand the product and as part of that process we had to understand the marketplace and where we were within it. It became obvious that some of the key appeals of our product was that people knew our providence and our history, because at the end of the day people associate a good brand with where its situated.”

As an ambassador for the Welsh Food and Drink Skills Project, the aim is to promote the industry and to emphasise that working in the food and drink sector can be a responsible and long term career choice. Despite the Food and Drink sector being Wales’s largest collective employer, employing 230,000 people and generating £6.5 billion a year, The Welsh Food and Drinks Skills Project has found, through its research, that there is a shortage of key skills to drive the food industry forward in the coming years. As a result, the aim is to attract 75,000 new recruits to the food and drink industry in Wales by 2020.

Owain Roberts strongly believes that the success of Llaeth y Llan is wholly based on the staff involved and their skills,

We firmly believe that our business is only as good as our staff. Training is vital and we do the majority of it in house as that helps in developing people’s skills. It is not only about making yoghurts; it is also important to give something back to the community. That’s why it is important to recruit people that understand every aspect of the business, from marketing to account management to engineering.”

The food industry in Wales is in a really good position at the moment because there’s so many small to medium producers that produce quality products. It is Wales’ time to really shine on the food side.”

According to Caryl Tudor Jones of the Food and Drink Skills Project, the training elements provided by the Project is very practical and relevant to all sections of the industry,

“What we’ve tried to do is to consider the demand within the industry and respond to that demand. With the right training and knowledge, and appropriate use of marketing tools such as social media there can be significant advantages to the food, drink and hospitality sector to improve their business. Keeping up with the ever changing demands of the industry is not easy but with the relevant training programme the rewards can be significant, as we can see from the Llaeth y Llan success story.

The Llaeth y Llan story is a great success story of how a family business has been developed, has evolved and has adapted over the years to reflect and respond to the the competitive demands of the sector – this is what what the ‘Future Skills… food for thought’ campaign wants to encourage. The accredited courses on offer with our providers aim to ensure that an increasing number of food and drink companies in Wales can be equipped with the proper training and skills needed to replicate their success.”

To see more of Llaeth y Llan and hear about their story visit the Food and Drink Skills website ( where you can watch a short video highlighting the company’s work as well as some other Welsh food and drink success stories.

To grow your business and learn more about getting your employees trained with one of our accredited providers either by attending a course or by in-house training, please contact The Welsh Food & Drink Skills team on 01982 552646 or visit

The Welsh Food & Drink Skills Project is supported by the Sector Priorities Fund Pilot programme with funding from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, and delivered in partnership between Lantra, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the Land-based and environmental industries, Improve – the SSC for food and drink manufacturing and People 1st Cymru, the SSC for Hospitality and Tourism.

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