IRELAND – Kerry Dairy Ireland, a division of Kerry Group, has inaugurated its new Cheestrings facility in Charleville, Co Cork.

The expanded plant will create 60 local jobs and enhance the company’s production capacity by 50%, supporting new processing capabilities and efficiencies.

Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, the Cheestrings brand has found success across Ireland and the UK. The government’s Capital Investment Scheme partly funded the facility for the agri-food processing sector and is supported by the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

This support ensures Kerry Dairy Ireland has the world-leading processing capabilities needed to continue to grow the brand globally while directly supporting the local economy here in Charleville through creating jobs,” said Peter Burke, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Pat Murphy, CEO of Kerry Dairy Ireland, stated that the company’s investment in Charleville reflects its belief in the product and the brand.

“As we cut the ribbon today, our commitment to quality, innovation, and community remains steadfast, and we look forward to Cheestrings’ continued success and expansion,” he added.

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, emphasized the importance of supporting companies like Kerry Dairy Ireland to increase innovation, improve competitiveness, and expand their global footprint.

The opening of the new Cheestrings facility today reflects highly on the entire sector as an example of innovation combined with best-in-class facilities,” he said.

Enterprise Ireland has supported this development under the 2021 Capital Investment Scheme, aiming to build resilience in the Irish dairy and meat sectors by increasing value-added and directing new products into global markets.

Mr. Murphy noted that input costs remain high but urged farmers to implement plans to reduce production costs in the coming years. He highlighted that while the best farmers can reduce production costs to 30c/l, other farmers should strive to achieve similar efficiency.

Earlier this year, Murphy announced that Kerry Group is open to inquiries that could lead to an offer for its Irish dairy business, which has been under review since 2021.

Despite reporting preliminary earnings of €1.17bn for 2023 and revenues of €8bn, down 8.6% from the prior year, Kerry’s global flavors and nutrition business remains the most crucial part of the company, supplying higher-margin products to international food producers.

While smaller and less profitable, the Irish dairy business has seen selective investment to improve margins, with the new Cheestrings plant in Charleville being a significant step in this direction.

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