A new research and development centre opened by Ornua at its Ingredientes Espana headquarters is focused on increasing the company’s business scale in the southern European market through customer-led innovation.
The aim of the centre in Avila, Spain, is to further strengthen Ornua’s position as a global provider of cheese products to the quick-service restaurant and food service sectors.
Irish ambassador to Spain David Cooney opened the centre during a visit to Avila by Arron Forde, chairman, and the Ornua board.
Ornua, a co-operative that has an annual turnover of €2.3bn, is the largest exporter of Irish dairy products and was previously known as the Irish Dairy Board.
It is is responsible for exporting about 60% of Ireland’s dairy products to over 110 countries and had an operating surplus of €30.3m in 2014, a 17% increase on the previous year.
Ornua owns the Kerrygold brand, which is synonymous with quality butter, cheese, and milk powders, and which is also the number one branded butter in Germany.
The co-op’s mission is to open and develop valuable global markets for dairy products and in so doing deliver strong returns to its 17,000 farmer shareholders Ornua Ingredientes Espana provides cheese solutions, particularly for the pizza sector, that complement similar investments made in its Middle East, US, and British customised cheese businesses.
It now has a modern research and development centre to enhance the business’s ability to develop new product lines and formats for existing and new customers.
Ornua chief executive Kevin Lane said the co-op was delighted to be reaffirming its commitment to the Spanish market, which it sees as offering great growth opportunity for the co-op.
“Since acquiring the business in 2014, we have strengthened our position in the Spanish market by building a significant manufacturing, trading and sales hub to service our growing southern Europe customer base,” he said.
“Investment in new product development will allow us to build on that, enabling us to more effectively meet the changing needs of our customers and to target new markets.”
Ornua has also recently introduced its new Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur onto the Irish consumer market following the product’s successful launch in the US.
It is available exclusively in Dublin Airport where there are growing passenger numbers, now almost totalling 22m, and increasing retail sales.
The brand’s arrival in Ireland heralds Ornua’s expansion plans for the liqueur in Europe later this year.
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