Ornua Foods UK announces £3m investment in cheese packing facility
Ornua Foods UK, the major supplier of cheese and butter to leading UK retailers, has announced a £3 million investment in state-of-the-art cutting and packing equipment at its Leek facility. The latest investment will see the installation of an additional high-speed cheese slicing line as well as the further expansion of Ornua’s cheese grating capabilities. Overall, the new state-of-the-art equipment will result in an additional 7,000 tonnes of capacity bringing total annual production to over 110,000 tonnes. This latest investment reinforces Leek’s position as the largest and most efficient cheese packing facility in the UK.
The new investment at Leek comes at a time when Ornua Foods UK is experiencing strong growth in both branded and own label cheese, with sales through major UK retailers increasing by 15% to date in 2020. This in part can be linked to the significant change in consumer buying patterns witnessed during the Covid-19 lockdown and Ornua’s effective management, in close collaboration with its customers, of the resulting surge in demand. While it also reflects the longer-term underlying performance of the business and its strategic focus on investing in its capability to produce a comprehensive range of high quality branded and own label products in the most consistent and efficient manner possible.
Ornua Foods UK’s growth is reflected in the strong performance of Pilgrims Choice, the number two cheddar brand in the UK, which has grown by 25% in the last 52 weeks, outperforming the category by 10%. In addition, Ornua Foods UK’s range of quality own label cheddars supplied to leading retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Iceland have contributed significantly to the performance of the business.
Commenting on the new investment Bill Hunter, Ornua Foods UK’s managing director, said: “Ornua Foods UK’s success is based upon our commitment to delivering a comprehensive range of high quality products to our retail customers in the most consistent and efficient manner possible. Central to this is our Leek cheese cutting and packing facility, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Europe and home to Pilgrims Choice, one of the nation’s most popular cheddar brands. Our latest £3 million investment at Leek will further enhance our cheese packing capacity and capabilities delivering further improvements in yield and efficiencies, as well as allowing us to respond to growing consumer demand for cheese in sliced and grated formats.
“Our latest investment in Leek comes at a time when we are experiencing strong business growth. This reflects our focus on delivering quality, efficiency, customer service excellence and innovative ways of working for our major UK retail customers. We believe our current investment and that planned in future years both at Leek and in support of our Pilgrims Choice and Kerrygold brands will continue to give the company a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”