North Yorkshire yoghurt maker secures growth funding

Hesper Farm Dairies Ltd, the North Yorkshire company which makes yoghurt from a ninth century Icelandic recipe using British ingredients has secured growth funding.

The Skipton-based business is set to triple its workforce to boost production after two Yorkshire entrepreneurs became investors in a deal which was arranged by the corporate finance team at York-based Garbutt & Elliott.

Skyr has been produced by Hesper Farm for four years after the family farm’s third generation, Sam Moorhouse, visited Iceland in 2015 to learn the Viking recipe.

The yoghurt is now supplied to 110 northern stores, including all Booths, and several Morrisons stores as well as farm shops and Harrods, London.

Sam Moorhouse, Managing Director of Hesper Farm Dairy, said: “The investment, and setting up an accounting system, enables us to pursue a national supermarket account. Our long-term aim is to make Hesper Farm the top British Skyr brand and to introduce other innovative dairy products.

“We are creating six new jobs and will make about 55,000kg of Skyr this year compared with around 9,000kg in our first 12 months.”

Lead investor, Founder and Chairman of Elland-based BCA Group, Wim Batist, added: “While Sam had financial help from his parents to set up, he needed a lot more to reach where he wants to be.  His business has potential to become a multimillion-pound operation, especially with his strict quality control.”

The Garbutt & Elliott team was led by partner Tony Farmer and included corporate finance senior manager Stephen Garbett, banking director David Streather and corporate finance executive Mark Jennings.

Farmer said: “Sam has a great natural product and the new investors are supporting an innovative UK food product with huge sales potential. We are excited to be applying our food sector experience to assist the growth of the business.”

Photo: (L-R): Garbutt & Elliott Banking Director David Streather, Hesper Farm Dairy Managing Director Sam Moorhouse and Garbutt & Elliott Corporate Finance Senior Manager Stephen Garbett