Article appeared in issue 6, 2021


Ornua acquires leading US cheese business Whitehall Specialties Inc


In October, Irish dairy cooperative, Ornua, announced it has acquired US cheese ingredients business, Whitehall Specialties Inc (WSI). WSI provides innovative functional analogue and blended cheese products and cheese solutions to food manufacturing, retail, and foodservice customers. Headquartered in Wisconsin, it employs 450 people across four production and warehouse facilities.  

This acquisition complements Ornua’s US Ingredients division, Ornua Ingredients North America (OINA). OINA is a leading provider of customised functional cheese solutions for US food manufacturing and foodservice customers with two production facilities including a state-of-the-art innovation centre. The venture will expand OINA’s production footprint across six facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, and enable the company’s long-term growth strategy. 

Commenting on the announcement, Ornua CEO, John Jordan said: “Ornua Ingredients North America is a core part of the Ornua business, delivering strong growth over the last ten years. By bringing together two market leaders, in complementary parts of the ingredients sector, we are creating a powerful partnership that builds a strong foundation for a long-term, sustainable future.”

Kerrygold is the number two
butter brand in the US

About Ornua 

Ornua is a dairy co-operative which sells dairy products on behalf of its members, Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers. It is Ireland’s largest purchaser of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualised sales of over €2.3bn and a global team of 2,400 employees. Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 12 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across the world. 

The group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients. Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish dairy products and for the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers globally. Ornua Ingredients is also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. The business is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the US and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East. 

Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Kerrygold Avantage, Forto, and BEO. Markets are served by production facilities and in-market sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and the US. 

Ornua is a leading supplier in the US consumer market with its flagship brand, Kerrygold. Kerrygold, Ireland’s only €1bn food brand, is the number two butter brand in the US and sells 10 million packs each week globally.