Research centre for milk-based produce opens in Limerick

Nestle has officially opened its first research and development centre in Ireland at its existing manufacturing facility in Co. Limerick.

The opening marks the completion of a three-year building programme with a capital investment of €27 million.

The centre was formally opened yesterday (Monday, January 21), by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and Thomas Hauser, head of global product and technology development for Nestle.

The new centre will focus on scientific research to support innovations in the development of milk-based maternal and infant nutrition products for the global market.

Also attending the official opening were: Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State, Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Orla Battersby, divisional manager, Enterprise Ireland; and Thierry Philardeau, head of Nestle’s nutrition strategic business unit.

Over 40 research staff are employed at the centre, which is co-located with Nestle’s Wyeth Nutrition manufacturing plant.

Wyeth Nutrition Ireland produces a range of milk-powder products for infants, young children and mothers for export to world markets.

It incorporates state-of-the-art laboratory facilities as well as a full pilot-scale manufacturing line to facilitate the development, and testing of new products from initial concept through to product deployment.

The project investment was supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Speaking at the event, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said: “This is a strategically important investment for Ireland by the world’s largest food and beverage company.

We are honoured to have a world-leading research facility that provides a cutting-edge scientific base to develop new products that will bring health benefits to infants, children and mothers worldwide.

“Nestle’s decision to invest and open this centre further places Ireland internationally as a location that offers quality raw dairy materials combined with a highly educated and skilled workforce.

“It is a major signal of confidence in the future and quality of the Irish dairy industry.”

Dan O’Callaghan, head of the new research and development centre commented: “Between our pilot plant and laboratories, we have installed state-of-the-art food processing equipment and analytical instruments.

We will also complement our in-house activities through collaborative research programmes with Irish universities and with Teagasc.

Concluding, O’Callaghan said: “This will enable our cross-functional team of research scientists to develop the next wave of innovative nutritional products to meet the demands of future generations.”