THE IRISH Dairy Board (IDB), the cooperative organisation of farmers which owns the Kerrygold brand, is building a new cheese manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia as part of a €20m investment in the region.
The new facility will strengthen their position in the Saudi Arabian market, the fifth largest diary importer in the world.
The plant will produce a range of fresh white cheeses that appeal to local market tastes, made using a pioneering technology developed by the IDB and Irish farming promotion agency Teagasc.
The technology allows milk protein ingredients to be recombined for fresh white cheese production. Fresh white cheese is hugely popular in the Middle East, where there is high demand for Islamic-friendly halal products.
Saudi Arabia already imports more than 400,000 tonnes of dairy produce per year. Domestic milk self sufficiency is relatively low and milk production is under stress due to the lack of water for crop growing as animal feed.
The announcement was made by the IDB’s chief executive Kevin Lane, who is currently in Saudi Arabia as part of an Irish trade mission led by the Department of Agriculture.