MAGHERALIN, Northern Ireland -- Europe's leading manufacturer of pizza cheese said it will invest $19.3 million (U.S.) in a new manufacturing technology, according to a release from FoodProductionDaily.com.
The technology, which involves producing mozzarella cheese in ribbon format rather than traditional block format, has been developed by Leprino Foods, which is a partner in Glanbia Cheese. The move is expected to give company a competitive edge in the European cheese market.
Ian Pearson, minister of enterprise, trade and investment in Northern Ireland and whose department backed the plan through the Invest NI development program, said Glanbia should clearly benefit from the new technology, which is widely used in Leprino's U.S. production plants.
"The introduction of these world-class manufacturing processes will help Glanbia Cheese to build on its strong market position, achieve sales growth and safeguard its long-term viability for both employees and Northern Ireland milk supplies," Pearson said in the release. "I know that Invest NI is working with the Northern Ireland dairy sector to support it in seeking ways to add value to basic products and to target export markets. The agency's principles for business support offer companies customized business solutions to help them achieve sustainable growth and its support for this investment reflects this."
Paul Vernon, chief executive of Glanbia, said the technology has several benefits for the company.
"The new process will result in improved product functionality, enhanced process options and greater plant efficiencies, which together will deliver better overall economics," he said. "As a consequence, we will improve our competitiveness and will use this to continue to develop our market position."
Glanbia will also introduce a new management information system Pearson said will bring the plant into line with the rest of the Glanbia group.
"We believe that implementing a recognized world-class management information system will allow the company to maximize the benefits of the enhanced production capability," he said.
According to the release, Glanbia's target market is European pizza restaurant chains and pizza manufacturers for retail outlets, which are expected to grow at 4 percent a year over the next five years.