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€35 Million Innovation Investment in Irish Dairy Processing Industry

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€35 Million Innovation Investment in Irish Dairy Processing Industry

€35 Million Innovation Investment in Irish Dairy Processing Industry
February 04
10:35 2015

The Irish dairy processing sector continues to ramp up its preparations for the end of milk quotas with the announcement of an innovation investment of €35 million.

The investment by Government and industry will position Ireland as a world leader in dairy innovation, and help to maximise the long term growth opportunities created by anticipated increase of 50% in the Irish milk pool by 2020.

The investment is in the form of two initiatives: a €25 million Dairy Processing Technology Centre (DPTC) supported by the Department of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland and the dairy industry partners which will be hosted by University of Limerick; and a €10 million investment by Teagasc and the dairy industry shareholders in the expansion of the Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL) pilot plant facility in Fermoy, County Cork.

Of the ten major dairy companies involved, seven are investing in both initiatives – Arrabawn Co-op, Aurivo, Carbery, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry, and Tipperary Co-op. Lakeland Dairies is part of the DPTC consortium only. The Irish Dairy Board and North Cork Co-op are investing in MTL.

University of Limerick will lead nine other Research Performing Organisations (RPO’s) in the DPTC to deliver the research and technology required creating 52 new jobs for highly-skilled researchers over the five year term of the centre.

According to Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc “MTL now lists among its customers the most progressive companies in the food, food ingredients and nutritional sectors and it is obliged to meet the high expectation of these companies in all aspects of its services. The €10 million investment by its shareholders will future proof MTL and ensure its relevance to all its customers, national and international in the years ahead but most importantly will provide a platform to support the ambitions of the Irish dairy Industry to produce value added foods and ingredients for international markets.”

The recently appointed CEO of the DPTC, Padraig McPhillips explains that the DPTC is a collaborative model in which the best research talent in Ireland relevant to industry needs is brought together with the dairy sector to solve strategic research and innovation needs articulated by the sector. “The two key outputs of the DPTC will be knowledge and people – both will be absorbed by the industry and used to deliver more efficient processes and better products and ingredients. The DPTC is like adding a new software engine to the dairy sector,” adds Padraig McPhillips.

The two initiatives are complementary, particularly when it comes to testing the new technologies generated in the DPTC. The companies will need to trial the technologies at a pilot scale to test their potential robustness at commercial scale. The upgraded and expanded MTL pilot plant facility provide the right environment for some of the outputs of DPTC to be tested at a commercial scale and help the transfer of these innovations to industry.

Dan MacSweeney, chief executive of Carbery Group and chairman of the Irish Dairy Industries Association, comments: “The Dairy Processing Technology Centre will be a critical agent in realising the opportunity presented by the abolition of the milk quotas by providing a dedicated public-private partnership investment in a world class dairy processing research and capability centre. The Irish dairy industry recognises the importance of investing in sophisticated, collaborative research and innovation and this is reflected by the involvement of eight of our primary processors. Cumulatively, the companies who are partners in the DPTC process 85% of Ireland’s milk pool, produce €2.5 billion of Ireland’s annual dairy exports and provide over 25,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is also reflected in the significant industry contribution of €9 million to the total cost of the initiative – we are serious about making this technology centre work for the Irish dairy industry. We also welcome the complementary investment in MTL, almost €4 million of which is being provided by industry.”

CAPTION:

Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture Food; Gearóid Mooney, Head of Research & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland; and Professor Mary Shire, VP Research University of Limerick; pictured at a €35 million investment announcement to make the Irish dairy processing sector more innovative.

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