Dairygold set to increase its Jarlsberg cheese production

Dairygold will create a significant number of new jobs when its proposed new Jarlsberg cheese plant becomes operational in 2019.

While the North Cork-based co-op is reticent to discuss numbers on its deal with Tine, the

Norwegian dairy company which continues to own the Jarlsberg brand, the new facility will see Dairygold’s production capacity increase from its current 3,000 tonnes of Jarlsberg to 14,000 tonnes per annum, with potential to expand further in due course.

“We expect the plant will be ready by the end of 2018, and it will be fully operational by 2019, subject to the usual planning permission,” said Dairygold chief executive, Jim Woulfe. 

“This is great news for East Cork and for Mogeely in particular. Both the job numbers and the spend in the project will be substantial.”

Exports of Jarlsberg from Norway currently comprise a large part of Tine’s global turnover of over €335m. The new plant will enhance Dairygold’s evolving facilities and its growing international reputation.

The move follows the building of the Centre of Excellence for Kerrygold butter production and packing at the Dairygold Co-op complex in Mitchelstown.

The Kerrygold plant will sustain around 50 jobs, as well as the considerable employment created during construction. 

Dairygold has invested more than €200m in growing brands, innovation and in opening new production facilities and offices around the world in the past two years.

“We have developed strong ties with Tine over the past ten years, and we look forward to expanding that relationship in the coming years,” said Jim Woulfe. 

“They were also looking at the USA. 

They have come to us because of the skill set of our team. This deal is a real testament to the quality of our people.”

Tine’s decision to switch a sizeable proportion of its production to Cork followed an indepth study of the quality of milk production in Dairygold’s catchment area, and its processing facilities. Tine also has a Jarlsberg production facility in the USA, producing 5,500 tons of cheese annually.

The deal is also an affirmation for Dairygold’s suppliers, whose milk will enter several new markets under the Jarslberg label.

Dairygold chairman, James Lynch, said: “Tine’s decision to invest alongside Dairygold on the Mogeely site reflects a strong vote of confidence in the commitment of our farmers and staff to quality dairy production at all levels.”

Tine will continue to manage the commercial side of the brand, including global marketing and sales.

Tine’s expanding Cork production is equivalent to 6-7% of the company’s total milk production. Tine will now work to find other outlets to sell the 90 million litres of Norwegian milk which is to be replaced by Irish milk.

Tine is currently working through some aspects of the deal with its milk suppliers in Norway, ironing out some of the sensitivities regarding the production switch from Norway to Ireland.

Tine’s chairman, Mr Tron Reierstad, told Norwegian media the move to Ireland would ultimately boost the company’s profitability. Tine had reached its export quota limits under the WTO trade agreement.

Tine was also near reaching its US import limit of 7,000 tonnes for cheese produced in Norway. Moving production to an EU-based facility will significantly raise Tine’s potential for exports to the US market. 

“To move our Jarlsberg production to Ireland is not something that we do lighheartedly,” Tron Reierstad said.

Jarlsberg is a mild, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese which resembles Swiss Emmental cheese with distinctive, open and irregular ‘eyes’. 

Jarlsberg is often marketed as a Swiss cheese because of its characteristics, though it tends to be sweeter and stronger than Emmental.


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