SOSE and Rowan Glen teams together at factory

Net Zero funding helps Rowan Glen to take sustainable step forward

A Dumfries & Galloway yogurt production plant which reopened a year ago has been supported by South of Scotland Enterprise to take the next sustainable step forward with its operations.

Rowan Glen have been awarded over £142,000 from our Net Zero Accelerator Fund towards the purchase and installation of a cream separator and cooling and storage facility.

What will the new facility do?

  • The technology will allow the business - which is based at Palnure near Newton Stewart - to produce its own cream on site from locally sourced milk.
  • This will allow Rowan Glen to significantly reduce the amount of plastic and paper packaging used and decrease the freight miles incurred by the company.
  • This in turn will mean Rowan Glen can supply more products to their clients, more efficiently and economically.

New start for Rowan Glen

The support is a further boost to Rowan Glen, which formed a new business 12 months ago which enabled the purchase of the factory and Rowan Glen brand from previous owners Dale Farm Ltd.

The site was previously under the ownership of Dale Farm Group, who announced in September 2022 a review of its UK operations including the proposed closure of the Palnure factory.

This review concluded with a decision to close the factory and cease operations at the end of October 2022, with around 45 staff being made redundant on 12 November 2022.

However, successful negotiations between Dale Farm Group and new company Rowan Glen Limited led to the factory being purchased at end of 2022.

The new management team also acquired the rights to use the Rowan Glen brand, which is one of Scotland’s top 50 take-home food and drink brands.

Successful 2023

Over the last 12 months, Rowan Glen have built up its customer base, with the Rowan Glen brand in major supermarkets such as Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Spar, as well as doorstep delivery outlets McQueen’s and Roans and food service outlets across the UK and Ireland.

A total of 18 staff are now employed at the plant, with the target to employ 45 people by the end of the company’s fifth year.

SOSE support

We provided significant guidance and advice last year during the business formation and factory purchase, as well as a grant of £285,000 to help the new company. 

Jane Morrison-Ross, our Chief Executive, visited Rowan Glen to mark the Net Zero Accelerator funding award. 

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, said:

“It was fantastic to visit Rowan Glen and see the significant progress made by the company in the past year. Dairy and food & drink are cornerstone industries for us – both historically, and for the future.

“Support from our Net Zero Accelerator Fund will now allow the company to take another step forward, reducing the need to import cream and milk products, increasing its competitiveness, and reducing packaging weight and emissions.

“This in turn will allow Rowan Glen to provide more support to the local supply chain, and the local community.”

Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE, added:

“This project is perfectly aligned with SOSE’s priorities for the South of Scotland, in particular accelerating Net Zero solutions and advancing innovation and improving productivity. 

“Rowan Glen have made excellent progress in the 12 months since the new business was formed and I look forward to seeing them grow further in the coming years.” 

Rowan Glen Ltd Managing Director Alan Baxter said: 

“Over the past 12 months our dedicated team at Rowan Glen had full faith in themselves, their product and factory and have ensured that Rowan Glen has returned to several supermarket shelves across Scotland. 

“We have also managed to secure our own label business in Ireland and doorstep delivery and food service contracts across the UK. 

“The milk separator project is laying the foundations for a sustainable future, removing a large amount of packaging usage, transport emissions and energy consumption from our supply chain. 

“Not only does this significantly reduce our impact on the environment, it also opens new opportunities for product development and reduces our costs to help ensure we continue to deliver our everyday premium products at an affordable price.”

Small Business Minister Richard Lochhead said:

"It has been a testament to the hard work of all those involved that has ensured Rowen Glen is continuing to be a successful business in the region.

“This funding will further support jobs, increase productivity and opportunities for the business while improving the efficiency and processing to help the company reach its low carbon ambitions.”