Ornua has unveiled a €40m development at its flagship butter plant, Kerrygold Park in Mitchelstown, Co Cork as the butter processor plans to become the country’s first €2bn food brand.

The new facility will increase Kerrygold’s output to 80,000t of butter per year or over one million packs every day.

The investment sees direct employment at the butter facility rising by 20% to 180 workers at Kerrygold Park.

It was opened by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney on Wednesday.

Ornua stated that demand for the brand continues to grow with strength around the world, including in the US, where its butter is the second most popular brand in the US.

‘Significant milestone’

Minister McConalogue hailed the investment as a “very significant milestone” in Kerrygold’s story.

“Irish dairy farming families work tirelessly to produce the world-class milk which makes Kerrygold a world-famous dairy brand,” he said.

“This strategic investment, supported by Government’s Capital Investment Scheme, ensures Kerrygold has the world-leading processing capabilities needed to continue to grow the brand and generate value for the community of Irish dairy farming families which it represents.”

The continued growth in demand for the butter brand shows the vitality of Ireland’s agri-food sector and dairy industry, according to Coveney.

“Critically, the brand supports the lives and livelihoods of hard-working Irish farming families throughout rural communities,” the minister commented.

“Ornua’s investment in growing Kerrygold Park, which we are pleased to support through the Capital Investment Scheme, will further strengthen routes to high-value markets for Irish dairy, while directly supporting incomes that form part of our vital rural economy.”

Grass-fed produce across globe

Ornua co-operative chair Aidan O’Driscoll added that the brand has allowed the unique taste of Irish grass-fed milk to the world, achieving great success for its member co-op suppliers while doing so.

“We are also passionate about growing the brand’s global status further and focused on safeguarding the value it returns to the Irish dairy sector through the premiumisation of Irish dairy,” O’Driscoll stated.

Enterprise Ireland remains committed to supporting businesses in innovating, improving competitiveness and growing their global footprints, the body’s executive director Jenny Melia said.

“The opening of Kerrygold Park today reflects highly on the entire Irish dairy sector - pooling together innovation with best-in-class facilities.”