Dale Farm's £7 million cheese factory opens with 60 jobs

SAY CHEESE: John Dunlop, Chairman of United Dairy Farmers; Nick Whelan, Dale Farm Group Chief Executive; Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton; and David Dobbin, retiring Dale Farm Group Chief Executive, pictured outside the home of Dromona Cheddar, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Andrew Madden

DALE Farm has unveiled a state of the art, £7 million cheese factory in Dunmanbridge providing 60 new jobs to the area.

Invest NI pledged £550,000 in support towards the new factory, which, thanks to its modern, advanced equipment and facilities, will be one of the most sophisticated in all of Europe.

Economy minister Simon Hamilton took part in the opening of the site and said it will provide a boost for the regional economy.

“Ultimately this investment will enhance the company’s competitiveness in global markets enabling it to compete for national and international contracts,” he said.

“The dairy industry forms an integral part of Northern Ireland’s food and drinks processing sector and continues to make an important contribution to the regional economy.

“Dale Farm is a great example of the many award winning, export focused producers who are investing in innovative measures to support their growth and their continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food industry.”

This opening is part of a wider £39m investment by Dale Farm in its cheese making and packing facilities which has delivered volume growth of 25% in 2015-16 for packed cheese products.

David Dobbin, chief executive for the Dale Farm Group, said is a sign of the growth the company has achieved over the last two years, in which its cheese product sales has doubled.

“This new cheese processing and packing facility will help us continue to deliver strong growth in our cheddar sales in both domestic and export markets, especially in the faster growing convenience segment of the market,” he said

“We now have the excellence in people, products and production facilities needed to succeed in a demanding and very competitive marketplace.

“It is vital to the farmers that own our Coop that we can add value to their milk and this latest £7m investment by Dale Farm will help sustain our local dairy farmers and employment at this plant as well as support the continued growth in our business.”

Owned by a cooperative made up of more than 1,300 dairy farmers in Northern Ireland, the Dale Farm now has seven manufacturing sites providing over 1,000 local jobs.

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