Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Pilgrims progress

The Pilgrims Choice brand name was established by David Hardisty, the founder of North Downs Dairy over 25 years ago.

Originally from Kent, David's daily drive to Wincanton was along a route known as the North Downs/Pilgrims Way, which he subsequently used as inspiration for his company's brand name.

North Downs Dairy was bought by the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) in 1997, who invested heavily in the Pilgrims Choice brand name.

Initially launched into the retail trade as a deli line, Pilgrims Choice was launched as a cheese for the pre-pack aisle in its trademark black paper packaging in 1999.

Its success was remarkable, with Pilgrims Choice Farmhouse Vintage Extra Mature becoming Britain's fastest growing PDO (protected designation of origin) West Country farmhouse cheddar brand, with sales of more than £20m by the year 2000.

The IDB moved to capitalise on the success by promptly extending the Pilgrims Choice range.

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