A new €10 million investment in Moorepark Technology Limited (MTL) was officially opened by Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today, Friday, December 13th, in Teagasc, Fermoy, Co. Cork.
The €10 million investment in the new Moorepark Technology Limited Pilot Plant Extension was made by Teagasc and the dairy companies who are shareholders in MTL.
Today, MTL is a modern pilot plant facility containing versatile scale processing equipment across a wide range of applications, making it one of the foremost pilot facilities in the world.
It was established in the early 1990s as a dedicated state-of-the-art pilot plant to meet the growing research and development needs of the dairy industries.
Adapt and change
Speaking at the official opening, Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “The Irish food industry needs to continuously adapt and change to meet the new market challenges that continuously emerge.”
“This new MTL pilot plant extension allows dairy companies and other food companies to develop new products and adapt existing food offerings, to meet the needs of an ever-changing consumer.”
MTL, he added, underwent a detailed review process, and emerged with an “ambitious strategy” for development and growth, which is secured with this €10 million investment.
“I want to acknowledge the shareholders commitment and their desire to position MTL as a futuristic pilot plant,” Creed added.
‘Huge asset’ to industry
Chairman of Teagasc, Liam Herlihy thanked each of the shareholders and the Minister for making their respective investments. He said: “The pilot plant can provide critical technical knowledge in applying research and optimising a large-scale plant.”
“It allows the implementation of new product and process changes in controlled and least cost principles.”
“The range of equipment and technical knowledge, combined with the range of testing and analytical facilities from the Teagasc Food Research Centre, makes this campus a huge asset to the industry.”
Ownership of MTL is on a shareholder basis with Teagasc being the majority shareholder (57%) and the remaining shares being held by nine dairy processing companies, Enterprise Ireland and Ornua.
The dairy companies with shareholdings include Glanbia Ingredients Ireland. Ltd., Kerry Group, Dairygold Co-Op. Society Ltd., Carbery Group, Arrabawn Co-op Ltd., Aurivo Co-op Ltd., Tipperary Co-Op Creamery Ltd., North Cork Co-Op Ltd. and Mullinahone Co-Op Ltd. The shareholders were represented by their respective Chairs and Chief executives at today’s official opening.
Cal Flynn, Chairman of the MTL Board, said: “The investment in MTL has seen increased usage of the facility in line with the forecasts in the strategic plan.”
“It now has a base infrastructure to build on to support the urgent development requirements that Brexit has foisted upon the Irish Dairy industry and food sector as a whole.”
Enhance research and innovation capacity
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “This new Moorepark Technology Limited Pilot Plant Extension is part of the Teagasc suite of support facilities for food companies in Ireland.”
“We have a comprehensive food research programme based here in Moorepark and at the research facility in Ashtown, Dublin, providing expertise to the broad spectrum of Ireland’s food industry.”
“We have also just broken ground on an additional €10 million investment in a Food Innovation Hub here in Moorepark.”
This new world-class facility will allow companies to rent high-quality laboratories and offices to locate their own R&D teams at Moorepark, who will collaborate with Teagasc researchers and use the MTL pilot plant.”
He outlined that in this unique environment, food companies will greatly enhance their research and innovation capacity.