IRISH CO-OP Dairygold is to invest €15.6m (£10.4m) into a new research centre in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, devoted to developing new food ingredients.
The farmer-owned business, which posted sales of more than €950m (£632m) last year, plans to take on 15 research graduates when the new laboratory is completed in late 2007.
The move will double Dairygold’s R&D capacity, which is aimed at developing innovative food ingredients, including so-called “nutraceuticals” with health enhancing properties.
Early projects slated for the centre include work on food products to fight tooth decay and to improve food safety, preventing spoliage.
The co-op believes these products could generate significant potential for higher value food exports and licensing and technology revenue.
Chief Executive Jerry Henchy said: “The new centre of excellence will incorporate a highly specialised pilot plant facility.
“This will be designed and equipped specifically to complement the large pilot scale facility currently in place at Moorepark Technology in Fermoy.
“Our objective is to lead the way in the development of innovative new value added food products.
“At the same time we will provide attractive opportunities for food science graduates to come and work with us on leading edge food development research projects.”
The project has received financial support from Enterprise Ireland, though a spokesman for Dairygold was unwilling to put a pricetag on it.