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Glanbia Foods opens new cheese innovation center in Idaho

PD Editor Walt Cooley Published on 30 August 2013

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The world’s largest American-style cheese manufacturer opened a new research-and-development facility in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho, recently.

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Glanbia Foods held a ribbon-cutting ceremony of its new 14,000-square-foot cheese innovation center Aug. 7.

The company says the new building will “house the most advanced equipment in the industry” and enable it to “develop products with its customers from concept to reality.”

“This is where the fun starts for me and my team,” said the company’s director of cheese technology Dave Perry to the several hundred state and local dignitaries and company employees at the event. “I hope you get excited about cheese and what we can do with cheese when you walk through it.”

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Perry and his team of white-coat researchers led VIP tours of the center’s new test kitchen, analytical laboratory, milk processing equipment and cheese-making rooms.

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Researchers will spend 60 to 70 percent of their time working with current Glanbia customers on requests for innovative flavors, cuts, functionality and nutrient profiles of cheese.

The center’s cheese-making equipment is a small-scale replica of the company’s larger processing facilities, enabling its researchers to influence just about any stage of the company’s cheese-making processes and test the results on the final product.

“This is like a dream come true for any food scientist,” said Ram Kumar, one of the company’s Idaho-based researchers.

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Idaho dairyman Andrew Fitzgerald of Shoshone, Idaho, sells milk to Glanbia and attended the ribbon-cutting.

He said the new facility is a “great fit” for the company since it recently acquired a manufacturing plant in Blackfoot, Idaho, where it could roll out the products they innovate at the center.

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“As dairy producers, we feel this is the next step in transforming from a large commodity producer to also being a value-added producer,” Fitzgerald said.

“I believe our dairymen are hopeful that with the advent of new value-added products, that value will trickle down into the pricing for raw milk.”

He said Glanbia has shown a precedence for acknowledging value in raw milk for cheese and its byproducts, such as whey and lactose, and factoring that value into the milk pricing.

“The Cheese Innovation Center represents our commitment to and investment in our customer relationships, the global cheese industry and our local community,” the company’s CEO, Jeff Williams, said in a statement announcing the event. PD

PHOTOS
TOP RIGHT: Ribbon-cutting visitors taste samples of Glanbia’s cheeses prepared in catered appetizers.

MIDDLE RIGHT: Glanbia Foods CEO Jeff Williams said during his ribbon-cutting remarks that company employees are passionate about cheese and unbuttoned his shirt and said, “We wear it proudly on our chests.”

BOTTOM RIGHT: Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho (left); Glanbia Foods CEO Jeff Williams (center); and Glanbia Foods Group Development and Global Cheese Director Brian Phelan (right) participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company’s cheese innovation center. Photos by Mike Dixon.

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Walt Cooley
Editor
Progressive Dairyman

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