Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has opened Dale Farm’s new cheese retail packing facility at its Dunmanbridge facility near Cookstown.
The Dunmanbridge plant, one of the most advanced of its kind in Europe, houses the latest cheese making and processing technology.
Welcoming the investment, Minister Hamilton said: “I welcome this significant investment by Dale Farm. Completion of this new facility is the latest stage of Dale Farm’s current investment programme, enabling 60 new jobs to be created. These new jobs and additional salaries are a welcome boost for the local economy.
“Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, the new packing facility will enable the company to produce a wider range of packed consumer cheese. Ultimately, this investment will enhance the company’s competitiveness in global markets enabling it to compete for national and international contracts.
“The dairy industry forms an integral part of Northern Ireland’s food and drink processing sector and continues to make an important contribution to the regional economy.
“Dale Farm is a great example of the many award winning, export focused producers who are investing in innovative measures to support their growth and their continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food industry.”
Invest Northern Ireland has provided £548,840 of support towards the jobs and new cheese packing facility.
Dale Farm Group Chief Executive David Dobbin commented: “This new cheese processing and packing facility will help us continue to deliver strong growth in our cheddar sales in both domestic and export markets, especially in the faster growing convenience segment of the market. Over the last two years we have more than doubled our sales in consumer cheese products.
“Dale Farm has a first class range of products as demonstrated by our recent success at the Nantwich International Cheese show where our Dromona and Fivemiletown cheeses won a record haul of 10 gold medals. We now have the excellence in people, products and production facilities needed to succeed in a demanding and very competitive marketplace. It is vital to the farmers that own our Coop that we can add value to their milk and this latest £7million investment by Dale Farm will help sustain our local dairy farmers and employment at this plant as well as support the continued growth in our business.”