Ornua launches Kerrygold butter in South Korea

Dairy exporter plans to sell flagship brand through local retailers in Seoul

Ornua, the State's largest exporter of dairy products, has launched its flagship Kerrygold brand in South Korea, one of the biggest per capita importers of dairy in Asia.

The group said it would sell Kerrygold butter, which recorded sales globally of €900 million last year, through a number of local South Korean retailers.

The announcement is the latest step in Ornua's expansion into Asia, a key market for Irish dairy, and comes on the back of similar launches in China, Singapore and Malaysia.

As milk deficit regions, these countries offer significant potential as a route to market for Irish dairy exports, Ornua said.


The new product was unveiled by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed at a launch in the Hyundai Department Store Samseong-dong in the Gangnam-gu district of Seoul during the Irish Trade Mission to South Korea and Japan.

“As we prepare for a post-Brexit environment, it is critical that we build these new markets for premium Irish dairy products,” Mr Creed said.

Ornua aims to generate €1 billion in sales from its Kerrygold brand, which also includes yogurts and cream liqueurs.

South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world, with a population of 51 million and a gross domestic product of €1.2 trillion. It currently imports 150,000 tonnes of cheese and butter.

Ornua's John Jordan said "Opening new routes to market, such as South Korea, is a central pillar of Ornua's strategy to develop Kerrygold from a butter brand into a €1bn global dairy brand."

“ Today’s announcement is also an key step in further diversifying our customer base, a particularly important consideration for Irish dairy farming in the current political environment,” he said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times