Kerrygold maker Ornua - which is the biggest dairy exporter - is to expand its US cheese-making operation with a $10m investment at its Wisconsin plant. 

The group said the expansion at the Hilbert plant will facilitate an increase in production capacity by almost a third as it adds a further 22,000 square feet of warehousing and cooling infrastructure to the operation.

Ornua Ingredients North America specialises in producing cheese products for major US food manufacturing and foodservice customers.  

It makes cheese products solutions for applications in the meat, frozen meals, egg dishes, soups and sauces, bakery and pizza cheese categories.

Last year the business supplied cheese for more than 50 million pizzas. 

Ornua Ingredients North America operates two cheese-making facilities - the Hilbert plant in Wisconsin and another in Byron in Minnesota.

Bernard Condon, Managing Director of Ornua Ingredients, said that Ornua Ingredients North America have had great success in partnering with blue chip customers, delivering innovative cheese solutions and as these customers grow their business, it is creating additional capacity to serve them. 

"This latest round of investment is consistent with the investments made since Ornua acquired Thiel Cheese and it is a business that will see further investment over the coming years," Mr Condon said. 

"Hilbert is a core component of Ornua Ingredients North America's ability to create value on behalf of our co-op members and generations of Irish dairy farming families," he added.