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Work starts on new €200 million continental cheese factory

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Work starts on new €200 million continental cheese factory

Work starts on new €200 million continental cheese factory
June 23
11:30 2022
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Representatives from Glanbia Co-op, international dairy producer Royal A-ware and the Irish Government recently took part in the turning of the sod at the site of a new continental cheese facility being built at Belview in County Kilkenny. The new facility will be one of the most efficient and sustainable continental cheese production facilities in Europe. It is planned that the first continental cheese will be produced for global markets at the facility in 2024.

The facility, which is being built by Kilkenny Cheese Ltd, a joint venture between family-owned Dutch dairy producer Royal A-Ware and Glanbia Co-op, will have a footprint of 18,000 square metres. It will produce over 50,000 tonnes of continental cheese per year, including Edam, Gouda and Emmental cheese varieties which will be brought to market by Royal A-ware through their established channels.

The production facility will utilise approximately 450 million litres of milk from Glanbia milk suppliers each year. Glanbia Co-op currently sends some milk for processing by third parties during the peak milk supply months; the new facility will allow this milk to be brought in-house for processing in one of the most sustainable cheese plants in Europe. This will consolidate milk processing and reduce transport movements.

The facility will manufacture varieties of continental cheese including Gouda, Edam and Emmental for food service, retail and B2B customers. There are strong advantages to the joint venture facility, as it utilises expertise from both organisations and will bring continental cheese to the marketplace alongside Royal A-ware’s established routes to market.

Other products produced during the process, including whey and butterfat for cream production, will be brought to market through Glanbia Co-op. The new facility will be one of the most efficient and sustainable continental cheese production facilities in Europe.

Previous studies show Glanbia Co-op’s activities have a positive impact on Ireland’s rural economy and the new facility at Belview will support the incomes of over 4,500 farm families. Over 400 jobs will be created during construction. Once opened, the Kilkenny Cheese Limited facility at Belview will offer high-skill opportunities with 80 jobs.

The sod-turning was performed by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue. Welcoming the new development project in the south-east, the Tánaiste said;

“It’s an honour to be in Belview to turn the sod on this brand new €200 million continental cheese facility. It’s a huge boost for the south-east which has experienced significant and long overdue investment and jobs growth in the past year or two. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union was a seismic event for Ireland’s agrifood sector and the over 163,000 people it employs here.”

Speaking at the event, Glanbia Co-op CEO Jim Bergin, said: “We are delighted to partner with Royal A-ware, a leading global producer of continental cheese, to build this world-class facility in the south-east of Ireland. The joint venture approach brings expertise in continental cheese production and a new route to market for our farmers. Today marks a significant step on the road to diversifying our product offering post-Brexit. Our Co-op will also benefit from the additional whey and cream streams produced by this new cheese facility. This facility is essential in the context of a sustainable future for our Co-op and our sector as set out in our Living Proof sustainability strategy.”

Royal A-ware CEO Jan Anker said: “When we first announced our partnership with Glanbia Co-op in 2019, we said we were taking another step towards achieving our goals of working with strategic partners to build innovative and sustainable agri-food chains and offering our customers an enhanced product portfolio. Today’s milestone will see our company bring high-quality continental cheese produced through a local supply chain into the marketplace. We look forward to this great new facility opening in 2024.”

The new facility is supported by Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland’s Food & Sustainability Divisional Manager, Mark Christal, said: “Dairy is Ireland’s number one indigenous export sector and critically important to our rural economy. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support this strategically significant investment and looks forward to partnering with Kilkenny Cheese Ltd, as it embarks on this ambitious venture to build one of the most environmentally sustainable cheese plants in Europe. This project will see the creation of high-value exports that will create 80 direct jobs in Kilkenny adding to the prosperity of the south-east region and benefiting over 4,500 farm families. Sustainable growth is a central pillar of Enterprise Ireland’s “Leading in a Changing World” strategy and this project demonstrates the importance of sustainability to the global competitiveness of our Enterprise base and is an exemplar for the sector.”

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