Irish dairy group Glanbia has begun construction of a new cheese and whey manufacturing facility expected to generate sales of around $350 million per annum when completed next year.
The plant at Clovis, New Mexico, will be one of the largest in the world, designed to process over 2.4 billion pounds of milk annually. It will produce 16.5 million pounds of high value-added whey proteins and more than 250 million pounds of cheese.
Glanbia, with sales of $2.3 billion in 2002, is currently investing in research on whey-based products for its Nutritionals unit. The division announced in October that it had finished the first phase of a $4 million whey processing expansion, leading to development of new high-quality whey hydrolysates.
Among the new solutions are products for the bar and beverage weight loss markets, such as BarFlex, a partially hydrolyzed whey protein isolate that extends the shelf life of nutritional bars, thanks to new, patent-pending technology. The ingredient allows for high whey protein content in low-carb bars, according to the firm.
The new whey manufacturing facility, to cost $190 million, is 50 per cent owned by Glanbia, with Dairy Farmers of America, Select Milk Producers and the other dairy cooperative members of the Greater Southwest Agency taking the rest.
Commissioning of the new facility is expected in the fourth quarter of 2005.
Glanbia Foods, headquartered in Twin Falls, Idaho, will provide operational management for the facility in addition to handling all cheese sales, while Glanbia Nutritionals U.S.A. will market the nutritional ingredients derived from the whey stream.
Milk for the facility will be supplied by the dairy cooperative members of the Greater Southwest Agency (DFA, Select, Lone Star and Zia).