Glanbia Nutritionals is upgrading its Research and Development facility in Kilkenny and expects to open the new enhanced facility for operation in the third quarter of 2022.

The company said that new technology and equipment at the facility will support the development and creation of ingredient solutions for bars, snacks, beverages, baked goods and more for the European food and drink industry.

Part of the Glanbia Group, Glanbia Nutritionals is a nutrition solutions and cheese business.

Its products are used for sports nutrition, healthy lifestyle nutrition, mainstream food and beverage, clinical nutrition, infant nutrition, personal care and animal nutrition markets.

According to a study by Glanbia Nutritionals, 33% of UK consumers who snack admit to eating more when working from home.

It noted that low calorie and high protein claims in snacks are especially high priorities for millennials (people born from 1981 to 1996) and Generation Z1 (people was born between 1997-2012).

The company said this shows that the market for healthy snacks is experiencing rapid growth and increased consumer demand.

Glanbia Nutritionals CEO Brian Phelan said the new enhanced R&D facility will allow the company to better deliver innovative solutions to its EMEA-based food and beverage, lifestyle and nutrition brand customers as a key part of its market strategy in the region.

"It is another fundamental element of our global investment strategy in research and development facilities, as we bring our unique solutions capability to our regional and global customers," Mr Phelan said.

"The nutritional sector is increasingly competitive, so we wanted to ensure that we continue to offer first-class equipment to match the top quality expertise, consumer insights and operational knowledge that our customers have come to expect from Glanbia Nutritionals," he added.

Headquartered in Ireland, the Glanbai group has a workforce of 7,600 and sells its products in 130 countries worldwide.