11/11/2011

Cheesy Smiles As Dale Farm Exports Success

There's smiles all round at United Dairy Farmers, the parent company of Dale Farm, as the Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced a £495,000 investment in research and development by the dairy co-operative which is owned by 1,800 local farmers who supply it with one billion litres of milk per year.

The Minister, who attended the group's area conference on Wednesday, said the investment was aimed at boosting its sales in key export markets.

Invest Northern Ireland has today offered United Dairy Farmers over £120,000 to help the firm enhance the profitability of its cheese business by developing new product streams for the whey by-products produced at its Dromona cheddar cheese operation in Cookstown.

Invest NI’s support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This latest project, which aims to develop other added value human and animal nutritional products, has the potential to further increase the United Group's export sales by hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.

DUP Minister Arlene Foster said: "This investment forms an important part of the Group's business development strategy and will help it to generate additional revenue from its Dromona cheese manufacturing operation.

"As Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturing industry, it is vital for food and drink companies such as United Dairy Farmers to remain internationally competitive. Invest NI's support with this innovative project will help the Group to exploit new market opportunities by adding to its already extensive product range," she said.

"United Dairy Farmers has a clear strategy in place for continued growth and has demonstrated an export focused mindset which is necessary for Northern Ireland businesses to prosper."

Commenting, David Dobbin, Group Chief Executive of United Dairy Farmers, said: "Our aim is to deliver the maximum added value possible from our cheese and whey processing operation, exploiting the latest processing and nutrition know how to achieve best in class performance along our total dairy supply chain.

"This investment will help to further improve our productivity and competitiveness in the international markets we operate in.

"By developing added value food ingredients from whey by-products which previously were regarded as low value waste we can boost our sales and generate better returns for our co-operative and its farmer members," he said, adding that the Group already has five manufacturing plants across Northern Ireland, manufactures an extensive range of dairy products for domestic and international markets as well as supplying its farmer members with animal feed and other farm inputs and services.

(BMcC/GK)

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