Cheese and butter producer Ornua Foods UK is investing £3 million at its Staffordshire Moorlands headquarters on the back of ‘strong growth’ during lockdown.
The company – which employs 650 people at its Sunnyhills Road factory in Leek – is installing new state-of-the-art cheese cutting and packing equipment at the site after seeing sales rise by more than 15 per cent in 2020.
The investment will increase capacity by an additional 7,000 tonnes, bringing the company’s total annual production of branded and own-label cheese to more than 110,000 tonnes.
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Bill Hunter, Ornua Foods UK’s managing director, said: “Our latest £3 million investment at Leek comes at a time when we are experiencing strong business growth and will strengthen our position as a leading supplier of high quality cheese and butter to many of the UK’s major supermarkets.
“We our very proud of our standing as an employer of choice in the region and are committed to providing local people with the opportunity to become part of the Ornua success story through offering a wide range of long term and rewarding career paths.”
Ornua Foods UK is the company behind some major dairy brands including Pilgrims Choice and Kerrygold butter.
It produces and packs butter and cheese into a range of formats – blocks, grated or sliced – which is then sold into some of the country’s biggest supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Iceland, as branded cheddar or own-label cheese.
The latest investment at Ornua comes after strong growth this year – with sales through major UK retailers increasing by 15 per cent to date.
The growth is being partly linked to the change in consumer buying patterns during the Covid-19 lockdown and a surge in demand.
Mr Hunter added: “Ornua Foods UK’s success is based upon our commitment to delivering a comprehensive range of high quality products to our retail customers in the most consistent and efficient manner possible.
“Central to this is our Leek cheese cutting and packing facility, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Europe and home to Pilgrims Choice, one of the nation’s most popular cheddar brands.”
Ornua has confirmed that a number of new jobs are being created as part of the investment and all of its current vacancies are now being advertised on its website.