Balmoral Show: £10m will help Lakeland milk a booming market
Milk – we can't get enough of it.
That was the clear message from Lakeland Dairies chief Michael Hanley, who was one of thousands of visitors to day one of the Balmoral Show.
The Co Cavan-based milk processor owns the Prichitt Foods plant in Newtownards.
And Mr Hanley lost no time in telling the Belfast Telegraph about the exciting plans that are about to unfold at the North Down facility.
"We are about to invest £10 million in the development of a global logistics distribution and innovation centre at Newtownards.
"The plant will meet the future exporting needs of the entire group. The investment at Newtownards will also include the development of our new research and development centre.
"The logistics centre will be fully automated and represents a key investment project for Lakeland, ensuring that we will remain competitive on international markets for the next decade and more." The project will be completed before Christmas, the CEO added.
"The new distribution centre will have a floor area extending to 200 metres by 100 metres. The facility will be 30 metres high. In essence, it will be the size of a football pitch and more."
Mr Hanley went on to confirm that Lakeland is also committed to expanding its farmer network in Northern Ireland by almost 30%.
"Our milk pool is currently sitting at 720 million litres. Our plan is to grow that to one billion litres over the next couple of years.
"Milk has traditionally been the best performing sector within agriculture. And this will continue to be the case.
"Global demand for milk products is increasing by 2.5% per annum. And this trend may well gather pace over the coming years, given the growing impact of countries like China in the world marketplace."