Bord Bia has expressed disappointment at the news that Nestlé plans to close its infant formula plant in Askeaton, Co Limerick.

The site, as well as being a major employer, is a “key component of our export trade to China,” a Bord Bia spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“In recent years, import demand for infant milk formula in China has declined as the Chinese government has encouraged development in local manufacturing.

“Chinese dairy companies have grown their market share from 30% in 2012 to almost 70% in 2021. Population demographics has also had an impact on demand, with an estimated 9.5m births in China in 2022 versus as many as 18.8m in 2016,” the spokesperson added.


Since 2018, Bord Bia has diversified its approach to the dairy opportunity in China and, through its Shanghai office, it has placed an increased focus on supplying added-value ingredients to local manufacturers.

“Bord Bia met with Irish dairy stakeholders in May, ahead of a ministerial-led trade mission to China, to share our latest market insight and the key opportunities it identified in the market including healthy ageing and clinical nutrition.

"We remain fully committed to growing Ireland’s exports in these channels in 2024 and beyond,” the spokesperson added.


Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney also expressed huge disappointment with the news.

“My first thoughts are with the Wyeth workers and their families as they received this news this afternoon.

“It is hugely disappointing news, as this facility has provided fantastic employment in Limerick and made a huge contribution to Ireland’s economy.

“Officials in my Department will now begin a process of engagement with the management and workers in the company.

“The full range of State supports will be made available to the employees and we will examine each and every option to ensure that the best possible outcome is reached for all concerned,” he said.