Ornua has announced that its iconic Kerrygold brand's sales increased by 13% in 2020, with over 10 million packets of butter and cheese sold weekly.
According to its recently published operating and financial results for the twelve months ending 26 December 2020, the group turnover reached €2.3 billion.
'This unique trading performance is a result of Ornua’s agility in maximising on the opportunity arising from the sharp change in consumer behaviour due to global lockdowns,' the company said.
The group's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 49.6% to €107.4 million, driving a robust 69.2% increase in operating profit to €83.1 million.
"The strong fundamentals of our business - great people and great products – came to the fore allowing us to maximise the opportunity presented with the change in consumer behaviour, doubling down on driving profitable value growth against the backdrop of the global pandemic," John Jordan, CEO Ornua said.
"This performance delivers on our commitment to maximise returns to our member co-operatives and the 14,000 farmers who supply them," he added.
In the US, Kerrygold has become the preferred dairy brand for 10% of US consumers, establishing it firmly as the No. 2 butter brand.
2020 was a year of sustained investment, with Ornua Ingredients North America expanding its facility in Wisconsin, unlocking a further 30% growth capacity, the company said.
Kerrygold butter continues to be the fastest-selling brand on supermarket shelves in Germany, with brand strength supporting the launch of additional cheddar products in 2020.
In the UK, Pilgrims Choice outperformed the cheddar category with 29% growth year-on-year, securing its position as the No. 2 cheddar brand in the UK market.
Looking ahead, Jordan noted, "The company is cautiously optimistic about the gradual re-opening of economies as the global vaccine rollout gathers pace, we have clarity on Brexit, and we welcome strong signals from the US on improved US/EU trade relations."
"This, coupled with Ornua’s clear and ambitious new 5-year strategy focussed on driving profitable growth in priority global markets, will ensure we continue to deliver value for the 14,000 Irish farming families we represent,” he added.
While the global trading environment continues to pose challenges, there is cautious optimism in the clarity around Brexit, the suspension of US trade tariffs and the re-opening of global economies in line with the vaccine roll-out, the company said.
Looking to 2021 and the pursuit of the new success stories for Irish dairy, Ornua will continue to focus on its people, serving its customers, and returning value for Irish farming families, it added.
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