Arla has proposed ceasing production at its Trevarrian site following the loss of key own-label cheese contracts plus continued instability in the food service demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cornish site, which produces a range of brie, camembert and other cheeses under local or own-label retailer brands, could close by early summer 2021, with the potential loss or relocation of up to 37 jobs.
It comes after Arla said it was no longer financially responsible to keep the facility in operation following drops in production volumes for the site.
Alison Rance, vice president of production for Arla UK, said: "We have explored multiple options including additional volume opportunities for the site, but see no other alternative than to propose a closure of the site.
”We recognise that this will be a difficult time for all those colleagues impacted by these proposals and our priority right now is to support them to manage this situation as best we can.
"We are entering into full consultation with all colleagues affected by this proposal, and their trade union representatives.
"If the proposal goes ahead we are committed to supporting affected colleagues at this difficult time and will do everything we can to support them in their search for suitable alternative employment, either within Arla or elsewhere.”
It is understood the milk from Arla farmers in the area would go to Arla’s sites at Taw Valley and Westbury, if the proposal goes ahead.
But the firm expects to cease supply to customers of remaining products made at the creamery by the end of early summer 2021, since these cannot be made at other Arla facilities due to their production process and compositions.
Dairy industry analyst Chris Walkland said the announcement reflects the torrid time a lot of smaller cheesemakers went through in 2020.
"Trevarrian, while a tiny plant in the great scheme of things, was too big not to have to rely on supermarket contracts, so when those contracts are lost it inevitably affects the viability of the plant," Mr Walkland said.