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2 minute read - 9th May 2024

Dale Farm invests £70m to expand cheese production

Dairy cooperative Dale Farm is investing £70m in its cheddar processing facility at Dunmanbridge, County Tyrone. The expansion will mark one of the largest ever single investments by a Northern Ireland agri-food company. The plans will see Dale Farm integrate state-of-the-art technologies and equipment at the site, boosting production by 20,000 tonnes a year and making significant sustainability gains.

The investment comes on the back of successive years of impressive growth for the cooperative, and in response to continued customer growth across the UK, Europe and beyond, with the site already exporting cheddar to 40 countries worldwide.

Dairy cooperative Dale Farm is investing £70m in its cheddar processing facility in Northern Ireland, boosting production by 20,000 tonnes per year / Picture: Dale Farm

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Nick Whelan, group chief executive at Dale Farm, said: “Dale Farm has built a strong reputation as a leader in cheddar production, and thanks to our reputation for quality, sustainability and consistency, we are seeing strong customer growth in the category. Key to our success is the dedication and ingenuity demonstrated on a daily basis by our team right across the business. We are already exporting to 40 countries, and with this investment we want to build on that momentum and future proof our operation at Dunmanbridge for decades to come.

“We want to continue to lead the sector in Northern Ireland and beyond and cement our region as a global leader in quality, sustainability, and innovation. We have been granted a patent for cheddar produced at the site and are onboarding new technologies and digital transformation. We’re also investing in sustainability and as a result of this expansion our carbon footprint will see a significant reduction, marking another important milestone on our journey towards net zero.”

The expansion is one of the largest ever investments in Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry/ Picture: Dale Farm

The Dunmanbridge site employs 345 people and is supplied by 760 of its 1,280 milk producers.

Nick Whelan added: “The sustainability and profitability of our farmers and their businesses are at the heart of every decision we make as a cooperative. Thanks to the success of our strategy and growth, we are in a position where we can make an investment of this scale while continuing to pay a competitive milk price. This investment will be transformative not just for Dale Farm, but for the Northern Ireland rural economy. We have big plans for the future and are looking forward to the next step of this journey.”

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