UK – UK dairy cooperative, Dale Farm, has announced a£70 million (US$87.4 million investment to expand its Cheddar cheese processing operations in Northern Ireland.

The investment will primarily focus on enhancing the cheese facility located at Dunmanbridge, County Tyrone, in the province.

According to the company, the initiative is set to boost the site’s cheese and whey protein concentrate production capacity by a remarkable 20,000 tonnes per year, ultimately enabling a total capacity of 85,000 tonnes per year.

Work has already commenced on the project, with the expanded operations anticipated to commence in February 2025 creating 21 new job opportunities at the site.

In addition, Dale Farm plans to integrate new technologies and equipment at the site, emphasizing sustainability as a key focus area.

Nick Whelan, Group Chief Executive of Dale Farm, expressed confidence in the investment’s potential to elevate the company’s stature as a leading European player in the Cheddar cheese market.

He highlighted Dale Farm’s strong reputation for quality, sustainability, and consistency, which has contributed to robust customer growth in the Cheddar category.

“Dale Farm has built a strong reputation as a leader in Cheddar production, and thanks to our reputation for quality, sustainability and consistency, we are seeing strong customer growth in the category,” he said.

“We are already exporting to 40 countries, and with this investment, we want to build on that momentum and future-proof our operation at Dunmanbridge for decades to come.”

Dale Farm’s patent for Cheddar production at the site and ongoing advancements in technology reflect its dedication to driving excellence in cheese manufacturing.

The expansion initiative follows Dale Farm’s sustained growth trajectory across the UK, Europe, and global markets, with exports reaching 40 countries worldwide.

Notably, this investment represents one of the largest single investments by a Northern Ireland agri-food company.

The Dunmanbridge facility, which currently employs 345 individuals and sources milk from 760 local farms, plays a pivotal role in Dale Farm’s diverse product portfolio, encompassing milk, cheese, butter, ice lollies, and ice cream.

Brands such as Dale Farm, Dromona, and Mullin’s contribute to the company’s widespread presence in the market.

In line with its commitment to sustainability, Dale Farm has also embarked on a journey to achieve net zero emissions.

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