Dairy farming on Ireland’s luscious, green pasturelands dates back thousands of years. Of course, our history doesn't go back quite that far but it has emerged from its deep co-operative roots through a series of amalgamations and mergers to become Ireland’s largest dairy ingredients company. In fact, many of our family farms have been passed down through generations, a tradition that allows us to stay true to our roots and draw on invaluable expertise as we carry on getting even bigger and better. Our business today is strong and profitable and is characterized by an exceptional collaboration and innovation ethos evidenced by the number of long-term partnerships that it has developed over many years.
The history of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland
Our history arcs back to the early 1960s, with the establishment of Waterford Co-op Society and Avonmore Creameries, two groups with their origins embedded in Ireland’s co-operative movement. Avonmore’s formation led to the construction of our site at Ballyragget – the biggest processing facility in Europe at the time, and still one of the continent’s largest integrated dairy sites.
After a stock market flotation allowed both companies to expand in the late 1980s, the overlap of growth strategies led to a merger, eventually forming Glanbia plc in the late 90s – Glanbia meaning ‘pure food’ in Irish. After a period of consolidation this newly-named company went from strength to strength, expanding its presence in the US and Europe throughout the noughties with a series of acquisitions. By the end of the decade, Glanbia was firmly established as a worldwide leader of cheese, dairy ingredients and nutrition markets, from convenience foods to sports and performance nutrition.
Then, when the proposed abolition of EU milk quotas was originally announced in 2008, it represented the first opportunity for expansion in the Irish dairy industry for 30 years. It was as a result of this that GII was born in 2012 – formed from Glanbia’s ingredients division in Ireland and focused on seizing this chance for growth in the best way possible.
Under our ownership model, Glanbia Co-op owns 60% of GII, while the remaining 40% rests with Glanbia plc.These two financially strong parents are ambitious for the growth and development of GII as an international force in the nutritional dairy ingredients sector.
Our ownership model and 2013 figures
Strengthening our heritage
By capitalising on this historic change, we have formed a modern, progressive business that draws strength from its many years of industry expertise. Having invested heavily in our infrastructure, we have big plans to meet the demands of an ever-changing and growing market, including increasing our output by more than 50% by 2020. To kick-start this ambitious expansion, since our establishment in 2012 we have:
- invested €21 million in whey protein concentrate and isolate production at Ballyragget
- constructed our new, state-of-the-art Belview facility an investment of more than €180 million
- invested €9 million in a new milk protein plant at our Virginia site
- acquired Wexford Creamery - a cheese facility, increasing our milk and whey pools by 100 million litres in the process
- built on the Glanbia Price Volatility Scheme (GPVS) – an internationally unique approach to protecting farmers and customers from the unpredictable volatility of dairy markets
These developments are just the start of a new, significant chapter for Irish dairy farming. With milk quotas finally coming to an end this year, we are able to explore and innovate in emerging new markets more than ever before, using our extensive facilities to their full potential. Continuing to build on our experience and achievements of the past, we can help shape an even brighter future – not just for GII, but for all of our customers and dedicated farmers too.