Louise Hogan: 'Why Irish milk is now the real thing for drinks giant Coca-Cola'
The tide has been turning on the nation's health for many years. We've seen the McDonald's food chain embrace salads and politicians introduce a sugar tax to help cut obesity rates.
So is it a surprise Coca-Cola is diversifying from sugary drinks towards protein-packed milk? No. In fact, it's already made the move on the North American market. It is understood representatives from Coca-Cola have visited Ireland several times in the last two years, considering options from milk R&D to processing here.
Is it unusual a major multinational company would look towards the Irish dairy scene? For many, it's unsurprising.
There's a buzz about Ireland's research and development scheme, between cutting-edge work under way in the country's universities, and the innovations coming out of the Teagasc Moorepark centre in the heart of dairy land near Fermoy, Co Cork.
Many Irish companies are leading the way, and seeing it on their balance sheets as they extrapolate the proteins out of the 'white gold' and look for new functions for them.
Yet perhaps the real reason that a company with as strong a brand as Coca-Cola is looking towards the Irish dairy scene is down to many of the same reasons as the likes of infant milk powder producers, such as Danone, now have a strong base in Ireland.
One industry insider, who has been aware of Coca-Cola's interest in Ireland and involvement with the IDA for several years, stressed it was the story behind the Irish dairy scene.
It's the image of grass-fed cows, the integrity of the product, safety and what is viewed as a low-risk dairy scene that is attractive to the multi-national firms.