Agriculture Minister visits Glanbia Ireland’s new €15 million Innovation Centre

06 December 2021
General News

Glanbia Ireland’s new €15 million Innovation Centre will help it to expand its product ranges made from top quality milk and grains supplied from over 5,800 family farms in its catchment area.

The customer-focused R&D Centre allows the internationally-renowned company showcase its expertise on a national and international level, a win-win for its dairy and grain suppliers across rural Ireland.

The state-of-the-art Glanbia Ireland Innovation Centre is integrated into one of its key dairy processing sites in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny.  The extensive facility, supported by Enterprise Ireland, enhances Glanbia Ireland’s long-standing relationships with some of the world’s leading brands, its customers and consumers.

Investment in new, in-house product and process development and applications capabilities will allow Glanbia Ireland bring new products, nutritional as well as functional solutions to the market.

The new, 2,000 square metre hub is a beacon for Glanbia Ireland’s multi-disciplinary R&D teams who will use state-of-the-art, food grade equipment. Facilities includes a Plant-Based Lab capable of milling grains to different sizes for various applications as well as a Sensory Suite, Applications and Development Lab,  a modern visitor engagement experience, analytical laboratories and one of Ireland’s most sophisticated pilot-scale pray dryers.

The dedicated R&D team has collective experience of over 120 years. It includes food scientists, nutritionists, process engineers, a development chef, an analytical team and others.

Visiting the new facility, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, said: “An investment such as this by Glanbia Ireland adds significant value to milk and grain. Innovation here is assisting Irish agriculture adapt to the numerous challenges facing farm family suppliers and agriculture in general. As we face into a decade of change for our great sector, the cornerstone of our development will be cutting edge research, development and innovation.”

Alexa Toomey, Head of Dairy, Drinks & Food FDI at Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support this important investment by Glanbia which will drive the company’s value-add agenda.  Innovation and research will be the driving force behind Ireland’s continued prominence in global markets and Glanbia’s new Innovation Centre will ensure the company is at the cutting edge of a very competitive market.  This is very positive news for the region and the farmers and businesses who have a longstanding relationship with Glanbia.”

Glanbia Ireland CEO, Jim Bergin, said the investment marks an important milestone in Glanbia Ireland’s strategic and sustainability journey. “Our Innovation Centre is home to a team of experts who are passionately researching the worlds of dairy and plant. They include scientists, nutritionists, sensory gurus, development chefs and process technology experts.

“This team is committed to designing and developing quality products as well as solutions and ingredients with nutritional and functional attributes for a wide range of applications.

“Our new Innovation Centre will allow for faster new product development and prototyping at a higher standard. It will significantly improve our ability for engagement and co-development of products with our customers who we can now welcome in to design prototypes with us and taste product.”

Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer, François Morgan, said: “The R&D teams here are focused on rapid, detailed process development and validation and bringing everyone together on one site will help centralise and upskill our R&D expertise.

“We will now be able to showcase our products from rural Ireland to our consumers across the world and develop them for our growing national and international markets.”

The visit comes as Co-op shareholders are urged to register ahead of a Special General Meeting, SGM, on Friday, December 17. Glanbia Co-op is proposing to take full ownership of Glanbia Ireland by purchasing Glanbia plc’s 40% stake and to deliver a €168 million spin-out of plc shares to Members.