Ornua is targeting €1bn in annual Kerrygold exports with the launch of Kerrygold Park, its new €38m butter production and packing plant already up and running four months in Castlefarm, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.
The facility, on Dairygold land, has a capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes of butter a year and will initially create 65 jobs. Kerrygold retail sales stood at €750m last year, of Ornua’s total c.€2.5bn sales.
Ornua has rolled out new labneh (cream cheese) and feta for the Middle East and African markets. Kerrygold Park experts are also creating new products for Asia.
“We will be sending a new range of butter, cheese and powders to China this year,” said Kevin Lane, Ornua CEO.
“The second part of our strategy for China will be a range of yoghurts, creams and other consumer products which will be manufactured locally in China.
“All packaging and product development for the Asian market will be done here in our new innovation centre. The 65 jobs here are across the range, including new product development, manufacturing, culinary and research roles.”
The plant will bring back to Ireland packaging and other functions which had been carried out in Ornua’s operation in France.
Enterprise Minister, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, recalling the popular ‘Who’s taking the horse to France?’ 1980s TV advert, told dignitaries at the launch to expect a new Kerrygold ad campaign.
Ornua is also expected to roll out new products, pack sizes and brand colours.
“In 2015, Irish agri-food products were exported to 175 markets worldwide, and Ornua was in 110 of those,” she said. “Over 1,200 graduates applied to work with Ornua in the past 12 months. There will be good jobs with this company in the future.”
Dairygold CEO Jim Woulfe said there would be huge transport savings and energy efficiencies from housing Kerrygold Park on the Castlefarm campus.
Dairygold’s milk powder processing plant has a direct line into the new facility, whose butter will utilise a lot of cream and other byproducts from Dairygold.
Kevin Lane said the new plant would take milk from all of Ornua’s nine member co-ops. Since the launch in May, Kerrygold Park is six to eight weeks behind output targets.
This shortfall will be made up by boosting output in the usually quiet months of November and December.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said: “The new plant is the result of a tremendous partnership between two giants of the dairy industry. The people in this new facility are helping to make their two companies global players. The opening of Kerrygold Park is a major vote of confidence in the future of Irish dairy.”
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