Norway’s largest dairy co-op signals major Irish investment

Tine plans to make Jarlsberg cheese for export on Dairygold site in Co Cork

Jarlsberg cheese is similar to Swiss Emmental. Image: iStock

Jarlsberg cheese is similar to Swiss Emmental. Image: iStock

 

Norway’s largest dairy co-op, Tine, has announced to plans to shift its production of Jarlsberg cheese to one of the three Dairygold sites in Co Cork. The decision is expected to entail a significant investment and the creation of new jobs.

The move appears to have been prompted by the Norweigan government’s phasing out of export subsidies.

Last year, Norway said it planned to eliminate export subsidies by the end of 2019 as part of a restructuring of its trade priorities.

Jarlsberg, not unsimilar to Swiss Emmental, respresents 90 per cent of the 12,000 tonnes of cheese produced in Norway and shipped to US and Canada.

Tine’s Cork project will see it form a partnership with Dairygold for the development of a new Jarlsberg cheese production facility alongside Dairygold’s existing speciality cheese facility in Mogeely.

Having undertaken a strategic review of its export operations, Tine said it had decided to invest in Ireland to further strengthen the sales and marketing of Jarlsberg in international markets.

Like-minded

Dairygold Chief Executive, Jim Woulfe said: “The proposed new investment will enable Tine and Dairygold to further develop what is already a strong relationship between the two like-minded farmer-owned businesses.”

Given the sensitivities around the announcement, Tine has not specified the value of the investment or the amount of jobs it expects to create.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said: “Speciality Jarlsberg cheese will give Irish milk yet another welcome route to an internationally established cheese market.”

“Adding value to top-quality Irish milk is a key part of Ireland’s strategy for the development of the agri-food sector.”

“This strategic partnership between one of Ireland’s premium farmer owned processors and a proven international cheese manufacturer is a perfect example of the contribution that sector is making to employment creation in the rural economy, and to the brand image of Ireland on international markets,” he added.

Dairygold, the State’s largest farmer-owned dairy co-op, reported a pretax profit of €9.2 million for 2015.