Commissioner Hogan launches €17 million expansion at Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ballyragget Butter Facility

05th May 2015

Expansion will allow for +50% increase in capacity, projected global growth of butter consumption +4.5% per annum until 2018

A ‘centre of excellence for lactic butter’ supplying Kerrygold’s export market

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan today officially opened Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s (GII) newly-expanded butter plant in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny. The €17 million investment and expansion at GII’s milk-processing facility has created one of Europe’s largest butter plants processing up to 2,400MTs (metric tonnes) per week, and a centre of excellence for lactic butter in Ireland. Global growth of butter consumption is predicted to increase by +4.5% per annum until 2018. GII is Ireland’s leading dairy ingredients company, processing almost 2 billion litres of milk or 30% of Ireland’s milk pool into a range of dairy ingredients for export to more than 50 countries. This investment was supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

The €17 million upgrade brings to €106 million the total investment in GII’s milk processing facility at Ballyragget over the last six years and includes: the installation of an additional 12MTper hour churn and butter silo; a robotic packing line with a capacity of 18 MTs/ hour; and improved intake and storage facilities. These investments will allow the plant to increase capacity by almost 50%: from 55,000 MTs to 80,000MTs of butter per annum. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) employs almost 700 employees across 5 sites, with 400 of those based in Ballyragget’s milk processing facility.  Glanbia has a long history at Ballyragget, having built what was then the biggest processing facility in Europe there in 1966, when Avonmore Creameries was formed.

Speaking at the launch, Commissioner Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said, “Glanbia has a long history as one of the innovative, dynamic and forward-looking Irish companies that are essential to the future of Irish exports and the creation of sustainable, well-paying Irish jobs. This commitment to the Ballyragget facility represents a strong statement of ambition to grow globally from its Irish roots. This outward looking approach to ambitious growth, while staying committed to the company’s rural base, encapsulates the type of business I am working to facilitate in my role as Commissioner.”

Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, said “The opening of our expanded butter facility represents an important step in our programme of extensive investment in Ireland. We have ambitious plans for growth and have invested €235 million in Ireland in recent times, including €17 million in this project. Our heritage in butter-making in Ballyragget dates back almost 50 years and our newly upgraded facility ensures that the most modern techniques are utilised to deliver a top quality product to our global customers.”

Michael Cantwell, Food Division Manager,Enterprise Ireland, said;“Food is Ireland’s number one export and the continued investment in facilities like this – supported by Enterprise Ireland – further solidifies Ireland’s standing as a world-leader in the dairy industry. Our reputation internationally for sustainable food production is reinforced through the leadership position shown by companies like Glanbia Ingredients Ireland. Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland in developing its expansion and investment plans for the post milk quota era, and we are delighted to support them in the upgrade of their Ballyragget Butter Facility.”

Fergal McGarry,Global Marketing and Innovation Director, with Ornua; said; “We have ambitious plans for growth in the Kerrygold brand and we are delighted to be working with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland. We share the same vision for the sustainable development of the dairy industry, both in an economic and environmental sense. This investment at its new Centre of Excellence in Ballyragget demonstrates Glanbia’s clear commitment to quality and sustainability, which is so important to us and to our consumers.” 

Liam Herlihy, Chairman of Glanbia PLC said;The elimination of milk quotas at the start of April has provided Irish dairy farmers with the opportunity to expand production for the first time in 30 years. This is a historic juncture for Irish agriculture and – together with our suppliers - we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that this generational opportunity represents for all of our stakeholders.”

Use of butter is in growth worldwide with consumption of +4.5% p.a. projected over the period 2013-2018 in developed economies (Source: Gira). GII supplies butter to a range of global customers and well-known brands such as Kerrygold, through to top quality baked goods and biscuits. GII provides butter and butter oil to its joint venture in Carrick on Suir with Corman, a world leading supplier of technical butter into pastries and croissants.

Ireland’s natural environment is a strong contributor to GII’s leadership position in the butter market. Studies have shown that a number of bioactive ingredients are naturally higher in the milk of cows that graze on fresh pastures than that of grain-fed animals – including higher levels of conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) – a fatty acid associated with a number of health benefits including heart health and weight maintenance. Butter from grass-fed animals is also typically higher in the nutrients Omega 3, Beta carotene and vitamin A. The rich Irish pasturelands that Glanbia Ingredients Ireland’s dairy cows graze on help to make one of the softest, most spreadable butters in the world with a recognisable golden hue.

The Butter plant at the Ballyragget facility - now considered a centre of excellence for lactic butter production – produces butter for the world-famous Kerrygold brand with particular emphasis in the German market where its lactic butter variant occupies the number one imported butter brand position. Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board), which owns the Kerrygold brand, already trades in 110 markets and has ambitious plans for further growth for the brand post EU milk quota abolition last month. As the biggest supplier of butter and cheese to Ornua and a 23 per cent shareholder, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Kerrygold brand.

On March 5th 2015 Glanbia Ingredients Ireland opened its new €185 million Nutritional Ingredients Plant at Belview, Co Kilkenny - the largest infrastructure investment by an indigenous company in 80 years.  The facility will create employment for 1,600 direct and indirect jobs while contributing an estimated €400 million p.a. to the economy.



Media Contact Details:

Nicola O’Connell, Senior Marketing Manager, GII + 353 (86) 819 0942 /
Ruth O’Byrnes, Q4 Public Relations (+353 86 055 8331) /
Sinéad McGovern, Q4 Public Relations (+353 87 6411725) /   

About Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII)

GII is Ireland’s leading dairy ingredients company, processing 1.8 billion litres of milk or 30% of Ireland’s milk pool into a range of dairy ingredients for export to more than 50 countries Drawing from a fully owned milk pool of 4,800 farmers and their dairy herds, GII produces top quality dairy products from grass fed, pasture raised animals providing for a fully traceable and sustainably produced ingredient. GII is the sole supplier of cream to Baileys, it supplies a range of ingredients to the infant formula market and exports enriched milk powder to markets including West Africa, Middle East and Asia in consumer-ready formats. GII also sells a range of dairy proteins into the clinical and sports nutrition sectors, including Glanbia plc. It is one of the key Irish dairy processors supplying cheese and butter to Ornua (the Irish Dairy Board) which is sold under the Kerrygold brand. The business currently employs almost 700 employees and has market bases in Ireland, Germany, U.S., Dubai and Senegal.

About Glanbia plc

Glanbia plc is a leading performance nutrition and ingredients group.  Headquartered in Kilkenny, Ireland Glanbia employs over 5,800 people in 34 countries.

Glanbia has leading market positions in sports nutrition, cheese, dairy ingredients, speciality non –dairy ingredients and vitamin and mineral premixes. It has four business segments, Global Performance Nutrition, Global Ingredients, Dairy Ireland and a number of strategic Joint Ventures and Associates – including Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.


About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government agency charged with developing and promoting Irish enterprise. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness. The ultimate objective is increased exports, employment and prosperity in Ireland.