Ornua, Ireland’s largest premium dairy cooperative, has announced a major expansion of its Ornua Ingredients North America division with a $10 million investment upgrading its Hilbert, Wisconsin, cheese ingredients operation. Investment will add 30% production capacity to cheese making plant. With this major announcement, Ornua has now invested $23 million total in the Hilbert operation.

The facility, located in the heart of Wisconsin’s famous dairy country, already boasts some of the most advanced dairy processing equipment in the US dairy sector and includes a state-of-the-art innovation centre that provides functional cheese solutions to Ornua’s US food ingredient and food service customers.

Ornua Ingredients North America operates two cheese-making facilities: the Hilbert plant and another in Byron, Minnesota.

Ornua Ingredients North America specializes in producing customized, functional cheese products for major US food manufacturing and foodservice customers. The division is a global leader in functional cheese solutions for applications in the meat, frozen meals, egg dishes, soups and sauces, bakery and pizza cheese categories; last year the business supplied cheese for more than 50 million pizzas. This latest investment is a result of a period of exceptional multi-year growth in the division, with 2019 reporting a record year with double-digit growth.

The expansion plans for Hilbert will add a further 22,000 square feet of warehousing and cooling infrastructure to the operation, unlocking an additional 30% growth in production capacity.

Construction of the site’s new infrastructure is being carried out by Wisconsin building firm Bayland Construction and is expected to be completed in February 2021.

Commenting on the investment, Rick Pedersen, President, Ornua Ingredients North America, said, “Ornua Ingredients’ core ethos revolves around creating and maintaining long-term partnerships with our customers through innovation, best-in-class technical expertise and a true spirit of collaboration that delivers functional cheeses that meet the demands of brands and consumers. The capacity and flexibility enabled by this latest investment will allow us to deliver the scale and breadth of product portfolio required to maintain our position as the leading partner in our customers’ ambitious growth plans.”

About Ornua Ingredients North America

Ornua Ingredients North America custom formulate and manufacture a complete line of pasteurized processed cheese products. With more than 80 years of experience in cheese formulation, Ornua Ingredients North America delivers functional and nutritional cheese-based ingredient solutions for leading food manufacturing and foodservice customers.

Ornua Ingredients North America has two production facilities with some of the most advanced dairy processing equipment in the sector including a state-of-the-art innovation centre providing functional cheese solutions across the US, Canada, Central and South America. 

About Ornua

Ornua is a dairy co-operative which sells dairy products on behalf of its Member Co-ops; Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers. It is Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2.3 billion and a global team of 2,400 employees. Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 13 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across all four corners of the globe.

The Group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients.

Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Forto and BEO. Markets are served by production facilities and in-market sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, the Middle East and the US.

Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish dairy products and for the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the world. Ornua Ingredients is also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. The business is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the US and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East.