Recently Kerrygold has featured heavily in the news, with recent stories breaking of its butter product being banned from the US. The news came after a very successful year for the company, where they recorded worldwide sales of over €900million last year alone. As well as this the company also experienced a 20% growth in the US in 2016.
The butters producer has insisted they will fight the band with everything they have. CEO of Ornua, Kevin Lane said "We will defend with every fibre of our body anybody who tries to come in and do a knock off or tries to do a cheaper version or tries to damage the integrity of that brand. We'll take it to whatever court in the land we have to,".
The product was banned after an old law in the state of Wisconsin saw it banned from shelves. The law states that butter, to be sold, must have either a federal grade or Wisconsin mark. This has led to some fans of the product taking court cases against the Wisconsin state.
Speaking about the court case Mr Lane said, "We have received one injunction so we won the first piece but it is still continuing”.
Dairy product purchases increased by 7% last year, this counteracted the 4% rise in Irish milk supply post-quota. As we know Ornua is the country’s largest dairy exporter. They confirmed a turnover of €1.75billion last year, an increase of 9%, while also increasing operating profits by €26.6million (46% increase). Last year the company opened its cheese plant in Saudi Arabia, which produces dairy products such as feta cheese. This cost the company an estimated €20million.
Mr Lane stated Brexit is likely to have a big effect on the dairy sector, stating it is one of the sectors biggest challenges in coming months. He said recent Brexit discussions have shown an over-dependence by the sector on UK markets.
He stated, "The single biggest cheddar market in the world is now under some type of threat,". Mr Lane continued saying "We are going to look at what other cheese types that Ireland Inc could produce and Ornua could market…while we'll stay focused on being a cheddar player there are new opportunities,"
The Ornua CEO said almost €600million of sales come from within the UK, and added that the company need to up their game in other markets. These include the previously mentioned Saudi Arabia, Africa, Spain and China. He stated that this would help ease dependence on the UK market.
It is likely the impending court cases will carry on for quite some time, meaning by the time its resolved, Kerrygold could well have established themselves in a new market.