THE Irish Dairy Board is to spend nearly €11m on an expansion in Germany, as its flagship Kerrygold brands heads for record growth there this year.
After 40 years in the German market, Kerrygold butter is now comfortably the market leader in the country with a 17pc market share.
Now record sales of the Kerrygold brand in Germany is also paving the way for big expansion plans for the Irish dairy sector's flagship brand over the coming five years.
Despite retailing for up to twice the price of local competition, Kerrygold is continuing to gain market share.
Much of this growth is being driven by the successful launch of spreadable versions of Kerrygold in recent years.
The firm is now looking at tapping into Germany's 300 million litre fresh milk market.
The IDB is also close to completing a major new investment in Ryadh in Saudi Arabia, where CEO Kevin Lane said due diligence was being carried out on a multi-million processing facility to sell Irish dairy products in one of the fastest-growing dairy markets in the world.
The developments will all be music to the ears of Irish dairy farmers who, through their co-ops, own the IDB.
The latter is responsible for marketing and distributing nearly half of Ireland's 5.2bn-litre dairy output.
"We're well ready for post quota and hugely confident that we'll find profitable homes for whatever milk is thrown at us," said IDB chairman Aaron Forde.
Commenting on the recent dairy contamination recall by New Zealand's Fonterra, Mr Lane said it had opened up "dialogue" with more international customers.
Mr Lane added that he was exploring the possibility of doubling the investment in R&D at Teagasc Moorepark in Co Cork to €1m next year.