More than 35,000t of Irish cheese, butter and casein can now be produced by Ornua Ingredients Europe on an annual basis – with plans to grow this further, according to the Irish dairy exporting cooperative.

It was noted that Ornua is also “on the lookout” for further acquisitions as its business growth continues.

Speaking to AgriLand at the official opening of Ornua’s €30 million cheese facility in Avila, Spain, on Tuesday, November 5, Ornua CEO John Jordan highlighted what the new factory – and its increased capacity – will mean for the company, its member co-ops and ultimately the Irish farmer.

“What we’re standing on today is two years’ work rebuilt from the ground up to a state-of-the-art facility that offers Ornua tremendous potential in terms of being a global player for pizza cheese and pizza topping cheese,” Jordan said.

“Ornua is keen to invest; today’s investment is an important part of that strategy and certainly we’re on the lookout for additional acquisitions, whether that be in Europe or the US, to bolster that ingredients strategy.”

Asked what benefits the Avila plant will bring, the CEO said: “From an Irish perspective, this facility here has the capacity to produce about 35,000t of product.

“Within the entire Ornua Ingredients Europe business, it’s about 75,000t. About half of that is Irish dairy product, and that’s a mix of cheese, butter and casein going in there.

As we grow this business we also grow the route to market for Irish product here. It’s also value-added in terms of being a very profitable business, putting profits back into the Ornua group.

“Again for us, particularly on the ingredients side, it’s how we grow with our existing customer base and our future customers. It’s very important as we build and grow to have the right footprint, and not just fill factories for the sake of filling factories, but to fill them with profitable, long-term sustainable business,” Jordan said.