Northern Ireland’s only yoghurt maker, Clandeboye Estate, has announced it will invest over £2 million to expand its yoghurt business and create 13 new jobs.

The Bangor farm is building a new factory to increase the production of its award-winning yoghurt, and grow sales in international markets.

Bryan Boggs, general manager of Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, told AgriLand he hoped the plant would be up and running by June 2021.

It’s hoped the new plant will be heated and powered by anaerobic digestion and will make use of all the farm’s milk.

The farm currently includes a herd of around 70 Holsteins and 30 Jerseys and is also no stranger to awards, with a string of major UK and Irish championship ribbons and herd competition awards in its showbox.

Farm manager Mark Logan explained the Jerseys on the farm average 7,008L a year with milk composition including 5.39% butter fat and 3.96% protein – perfect for creamy yoghurt.

It’s complemented by the Holsteins which average 10,044L a year, also with a high 4.50% butter fat and 3.37% protein.

‘A farm-to-spoon journey’

Boggs said: “As the only yoghurt manufacturer in Northern Ireland, our mission is to grow Clandeboye Yoghurt as sustainably as possible and to maintain the high quality of our natural yoghurt offering.

Everything from grazing to production takes place within the Clandeboye Estate, with milk sourced from the Clandeboye herd and local producers – a complete ‘farm-to-spoon’ journey.

“Over the last 12 years, Invest NI’s ongoing guidance has been invaluable to the growth of our company. Its support is enabling us to build a new factory and invest in specialist machinery.

This will give us the capacity to produce up to 80t of yoghurt a week, over four times what we normally produce. All of this combined will help us to increase our export sales and expand in the GB market.

Making the announcement, John Hood, director of food and drink at Invest Northern Ireland, said: “Over the last twelve years, Clandeboye Estate has built its farm-based artisan yoghurt brand into a premium offering.

“Our support over the years has helped it to grow in the Republic of Ireland and now GB, with major retailers such as Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda stocking its products.

We are delighted to continue to support Clandeboye with this new investment, which will assist it to quadruple its production capacity and double its workforce in the Ards and North Down area.

“Last year, food and drink companies generated over £5 billion for the Northern Ireland economy. The sector has remained resilient throughout Covid-19 and it continues to be a major contributor to our local economy.

“It is great to see companies like Clandeboye focusing on innovation to remain competitive and continuing to expand and invest.”

Invest NI has offered the company £470,000 support towards the new factory and machinery. The support towards the expansion will also enable the company to expand its team with an additional 13 jobs across a range of production and management roles.

This project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.