THE production of Yoplait yogurt in a small corner of Co Wexford is to come to an end.
Up to 50 jobs are to go in Inch outside Gorey after Glanbia said it would close its factory there after selling its franchise for Yoplait back to the French company.
A 30-day consultation period will begin today. While it is too early to discuss what redundancy terms will be offered, Glanbia said yesterday they would be "generous".
The job losses will be a bitter blow to the region, particularly as the agri-food sector is one of the few industries in Ireland that has grown since the downturn began.
Glanbia and Kerry Group have seen their profits rocket in recent years, buoyed by high world food prices.
Glanbia has been producing yogurt under the Yoplait brand since 1973 but has faced huge competition in the sector in recent years, with falling sales and higher costs.
Yoplait, meanwhile, has been actively trying to take yogurt production back into its organisation and recently bought back the franchise in the UK.
Yoplait will pay Glanbia €18m for the franchise to move production to France. The Irish company will continue to distribute Yoplait products and provide sales support.
Glanbia's head of consumer foods Colin Gordon said: "Regrettably this (new agreement with Yoplait) will result in approximately 50 redundancies."
Farmers who supplied the Inch plant will have their milk transferred to other plants.