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Macroom Buffalo Heads For Pastures New

By Maev Martin
Macroom Buffalo Heads For Pastures New

Not content with being first to market with buffalo cheese, Co Cork-based Macroom Buffalo Cheese is embarking on an impressive NPD programme this year that will see the brand move into other dairy product categories. Maev Martin talks to managing director Barry Coffey about the brand’s ambition to become Ireland’s premium dairy brand of choice.

Milking cows had been the Lynch family business for generations until a decline in the market forced the family to look at other ways of making a living.

In 2009, they decided to import 31 buffaloes from Northern Italy to their farm in west Cork where they started making buffalo cheese.

“The Lynch family invested in buffalo as the dairy market was at a very low ebb at that time and the return on a small holding didn’t make financial sense,” says Barry.

“There was an opportunity to partner with a small cheese producer, but the real opportunity for Johnny and Geraldine Lynch arose a few years later when they decided to set up a new cheese production facility on their farm, and this venture started trading in April 2015.”


Today, the business has a strong distribution network in the grocery retail sector, with listings in SuperValu, Centra, Donnybrook Fair, Tesco, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, and Dunnes Stores.

Macroom Buffalo have a very good relationship with the Irish multiples,” he says.

“Almost 80% of what we produce weekly is sold through the various multiple chains that we supply and shoppers and consumers in both retail and foodservice are hugely receptive to the new products that we continue to bring to the market.”

Over the years, the company has invested heavily in both its manufacturing capability and its farmland.

The Macroom Buffalo Cheese production plant in Cluain Clod, Cill na Marta, Co Cork, has been BRC-approved since it commenced production in 2015, and the plant has expanded over the years to allow for further development of both its cheese range and a new dedicated yoghurt line.


Their herd of over 750 buffalo are spread across 640 acres of farmland in the Macroom area.

“Two farms supply milk to our manufacturing unit daily, with the balance of the land supporting our growth aspirations and our ever-expanding herd,” says Barry.

First To Market

Barry Coffey of Macroom Buffalo

When Johnny and Geraldine Lynch decided to invest in buffalo, every other cheese that was made in Ireland was from sheep milk and goat milk – no one was making buffalo cheese.

“It was a great advantage at the time to be the only producer of buffalo mozzarella in Ireland,” he says.


“The finished product of buffalo mozzarella, made from buffalo milk from a grass-fed diet, was very well received in the Irish market.

"The creamy texture of the product was greatly appreciated by the Irish consumer, and this helped us enormously as we grew our herd and expanded in the Irish market.

"We received the support of Aldi, Musgrave (SuperValu and Centra), Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Marks & Spencer during this time, and their support has been crucial to our growth over the last few years.”

Read More: Aldi Announces New €1m Two-Year Partnership With Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella

Variety Of Cheeses


Macroom Buffalo Cheese produce a variety of cheeses, including mozzarella, ricotta, and burrata, as well as their own version of halloumi, a Greek style buffalo salad cheese, and buffalo cheddar.

All are made from 100% water buffalo milk, are gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.

They are also ‘rich in good fats.’

“In the case of mozzarella, we produce two sizes – a standard 125gram ball and a buffalo bocconcini, which is a 20gram ball that is growing in popularity in the market,” says Barry.

“As we grew our milk pool, we looked to develop other cheese products, such as a Greek style buffalo salad cheese, a magnificent creamy product that performs well as a component in many types of dishes and salads.

"We also invested in developing our production capability for manufacturing a halloumi type product and this has resulted in our own unique product called ‘Buffaloumi.’

Two of our employees are from Cyprus, which is the home of this traditional Cypriot semi-hard pasteurised cheese, so their expertise has been very important to the success of this product.

Thankfully, one of them – Pana – has married a local lady, so we hope he will be with us for a long time.”

This year, Macroom Buffalo Cheese launched burrata and buffalo cheddar in the Irish market and last year their Macroom Buffalo Ricotta won three stars at the Great Taste Awards.

“It is a superb product and it is such a shame that the typical Irish consumer doesn’t fully understand its many applications,” he says.

“It performs well in the foodservice space where culinary professionals appreciate its adaptability.”

When it comes to new cheese products, Macroom Buffalo will be launching its Indian Paneer cheese made from buffalo milk in May.

“We envisage significant growth in demand for this type of cheese and we believe that our product will perform well in this niche market,” he says.

Cross Category Innovation

Macroom yoghurt range

While Macroom Buffalo Cheese has been active on the new product development front, the brand isn’t content to simply roll out variants of existing products.

“Our vision is for Macroom Buffalo to become the premium Irish dairy brand of choice,” says Barry.

“We see a great opportunity to grow our product range in a way that mirrors what the Irish dairy industry has achieved in this country.

“We made a big investment in our production capability at the back end of 2023.

"This gave us the ability to produce yogurts, which we will launch fully in April of this year.

"It also gave us the capacity to further develop our cheesemaking capability, with new products planned in this space later in the year.

"We also bought kit to allow us, in time, to produce butter from our buffalo milk.”

Buffalo yoghurt is extremely popular in Italy.

According to Barry, the high fat and protein levels in buffalo milk result in ‘a superb finished product, and the brilliant white colour of the natural buffalo yoghurt makes it a very exciting product’.

The reaction from the multiples to date has been very positive and Macroom Buffalo are hopeful that all major multiple groups will list the yogurt, with a planned launch date of the end of April.

“We plan to launch with a range that includes natural, strawberry and vanilla, and there will be an extensive promotional campaign to ensure that the Irish consumer has the opportunity to taste and test the product,” says Barry.

“We are delighted with the product trials that we have completed to date.

"It is a beautiful product and the feedback from consumers who sampled our yogurt has been very positive.”

Moving beyond yogurt, cheese and butter, the ambitious brand has also completed extensive trial work on ice cream.

“The finished product on trial was superb,” he says.

“It is something for the future – yet another new category for us to enter as we grow the business.

"Likewise, we did some development work on buffalo blue cheese, with very good results on the finished product.

"Again, this is yet another product that we would love to develop in time.”

Read More: Macroom Irish Buffalo Mozzarella Receives Gold Award

Buffalo Milk Benefits

Buffalo milk worldwide is typically classified as A2 milk, and A2 milk is achieving massive growth globally.

“Many consumers see it as a suitable option for those who experience digestive discomfort following the consumption of conventional milk,” says Barry.

“There is strong evidence that A2 milk could be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress in a certain demographic of people, and the difference in amino acid sequence between A1 and A2 milk impacts how the proteins are broken down during digestion.”

Macroom Buffalo Cheese are currently working with Kildare-based biotechnology company Weatherbys Scientific on validating the A2 characteristics of their buffalo herd.

“If that is the case, we believe it will give us a significant point of difference in the market as more people gain a greater understanding of the benefits of A2 milk,” he says.

Key Objectives For 2024

Since the company was launched in April 2015, Macroom Buffalo Cheese has won over 30 awards, including prestigious accolades from the Great Taste Awards and Free From Awards.

“We see award wins as a recognition of the good work that our team do on the ground every day,” says Barry.

“Macroom Buffalo put a huge emphasis on product integrity, and this carries through from our farms into our production facility.

"We have a hugely experienced and committed team of people who are passionate about the quality and finish of our product range.

“Looking at the year ahead, we are keen to improve our social media presence and brand awareness among consumers, to further promote consumers’ understanding of the health benefits associated with A2 milk, and to develop the full potential of our farms in supporting the growth of our manufacturing unit.

"We also want to successfully launch our range of premium yoghurt, and we are keen to establish our first export customer.

"And, of course, we will continue to expand our brand presence among our core customers and increase the number of SKUs that we have on supermarket shelves nationwide.”

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