IDB concludes €70m capital development in Britain

October 14, 2011

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee T.D. today officially opened the Irish Dairy Board’s (IDB) new state of the art Adams Food Ingredients (AFI) manufacturing centre in Leek, Staffordshire.

The new 65,000 square foot facility, including an innovation centre, was completed on time and on budget at a cost of €12.7m. It marks the successful delivery of a €70m capital development programme by the IDB in Britain over the past five years. As Ireland’s leading trading partner, maintaining a strong presence in the British market, comprising 62 million consumers, is critical to driving exports and to meeting the growing demand from food manufacturers for high quality dairy based ingredients.

The new AFI plant is dedicated to developing customised dairy ingredient solutions, aimed at customers in Britain and export markets. It complements the IDB’s cheese pre-packaging plant, also based in Leek, which was commissioned in 2009 and is the largest pre-packer of cheese to the British retail sector.

This new dedicated powder blending production facility further strengthens AFI’s position in the British market as a leading specialist of dairy-based food formulations by:

  • Doubling capacity to over 20,000 tonnes per annum
  • Providing a purpose built innovation centre
  • Applying the most advanced technology in specialist dairy applications
  • Offering customers a wider range of formulations and customised premix solutions
  • Giving greater flexibility to produce a range of packaging formats to meet specific customer needs
  • The innovation centre will enhance AFI’s ability to add value to dairy ingredients and will provide AFI with the platform to develop more advanced specialist applications in partnership with food manufacturers.

It will employ 50 people and replace AFI’s existing facility in Prince Street, Leek. The new manufacturing centre is located on a site adjacent to Adams Foods Limited, IDB’s British consumer foods business. The total IDB complex comprises of six hectares.

In 2009, the IDB commissioned its new Adams Foods Limited cheese pre-packaging plant in Leek, which packs over 3.5 million packets of cheese a week and is the largest pre-packer of cheese to the British retail sector. The IDB has also invested in its Meadow Cheese ingredients plant in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

Speaking at the official opening, Minister McEntee said,
"This initiative consolidates the position of the Irish Dairy Board and indeed the dairy sector in our most important export market. Indeed exports of dairy products to the UK in 2010 were valued at almost €800 million and there is considerable growth potential in this market. Food Harvest 2020 sets ambitious targets for the development of the Irish dairy industry over the next decade. Establishing more efficient routes to market will be a critical requirement if we are to maximise the potential of the sector. I am delighted to see that IDB is playing its part in this effort, and I congratulate all of those involved in bringing this ambitious project to fruition.

IDB Chairman, Vincent Buckley, stressed the strategic importance of Britain as a base from which to grow Irish dairy exports, "The commissioning of the AFI facilities provides a platform for adding value to Irish dairy exports in the years ahead and will allows us to lead the way in best in class customized ingredients solutions."

IDB CEO, Kevin Lane said, "This investment provides the Irish dairy industry with further market opportunities to meet the growing demand from food manufacturers for high quality dairy ingredients. Our purpose built innovation centre allows us to work more closely with food manufacturers in developing specific formulations. This investment underpins our commitment in building routes to market for Irish dairy exports and is in line with our ingredients strategy of adding value." 

Last month the IDB opened a new representative office in Algeria as a critical base from which to develop and extend the IDB’s footprint in North Africa – a market of almost 200 million consumers.