Glanbia’s new €130m Portlaoise plant to be hub for Europe’s mozzarella

Irish-listed food group and US partner Leprino announce plans for major cheese plant in Co Laois

 Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and  Siobhán Talbot, Glanbia Group managing director, at the announcement of   the new joint  mozzarella   facility in Portlaoise. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Siobhán Talbot, Glanbia Group managing director, at the announcement of the new joint mozzarella facility in Portlaoise. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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Glanbia will bolster its position as Europe’s leading mozzarella cheese manufacturer with the opening of a new €130 million production plant in Co Laois.

The company and its US partner Leprino on Monday announced plans for a major new facility in Portlaoise which will see the creation of 78 jobs.

A site for the proposed plant has already been identified at the recently established Togher National Industrial Estate in the town. It is expected to have the capacity to produce 45,000 tons of cheese annually when fully operational, making it one of the biggest mozzarella facilities in Europe.

Leprino is the biggest mozzarella producer in the world, and this new plant is expected to supply pizza-producing customers in the food service sector across Europe.

If planning permission is successful, construction will begin later this year, with the new plant expected to begin production in 2020.

Glanbia and Leprino Foods already have an existing joint venture partnership in Glanbia Cheese, which was established in 2000, with big manufacturing plants in Llangefni in Wales and in Magheralin in Co Down.

Glanbia Cheese now ranks as the biggest mozzarella manufacturer in Europe. Glanbia’s mozzarella will be produced from cow’s milk supplied by the company’s dairy arm Glanbia Ireland.

Artisan product

The original buffalo mozzarella made with buffalo milk is an artisan product, accounting for only a small proportion of the market. Official Italian buffalo mozzarella sold as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is protected under the EU’s system for geographical names of certain foodstuffs. It can only be produced in select locations in the regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise.

“Today’s announcement is one of the largest new name food FDI (foreign direct investment) projects secured for Ireland by Enterprise Ireland in recent times,” said Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland.

She said the investment would deliver a positive impact to the region, supporting sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.

“The result of this investment is 78 jobs supported by Enterprise Ireland and a further 250 during the construction phase, which will deliver a positive impact to the region, supporting sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment,” Ms Sinnamon said.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said:“The economic growth of our regions through the creation of sustainable jobs is a priority for Government, and I am delighted to see this level of investment and such a significant number of jobs being created here today – most certainly a welcome boost to the economy of Portlaoise.”

Partnership

Glanbia managing director Siobhán Talbot said: “ Our partnership with Leprino Foods has been very successful for both partners to date, and we are very positive about the potential of this new venture.”

Mike Durkin, president of Leprino Foods, said: “This new plant in Portlaoise is an exciting project that will not only expand our thriving partnership with Glanbia, but will take advantage of our combined experience, knowledge and strengths to build a state-of-the-art facility to meet consumer demand for mozzarella cheese.”

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