The company said that the centre will give food and beverage manufacturers access to its complete range of research, technologies and applications expertise, and will also incorporate Kerry Ingredients & Flavours EMEA regional management and Kerry Global Business Services.
The new centre will be located on a 28-acre site in the Millennium Business Park, Naas, in Co. Kildare, and is expected to employ 800 people by 2015, with a further 100 positions to be added the following year when the facility is due to be fully operational. Once planning is complete, construction is expected to start in early 2013, the company said.
Speaking with FoodNavigator, director of corporate affairs Frank Hayes said that some of the jobs at the new plant will be new positions, while others will involve transferring existing employees.
“We will engage with the people involved in those activities and engage in one-on-one discussions with them,” he said. “Our focus will be on moving people from an adjacent site in the first phase.”
“The key to the centre is speed to the marketplace,” Hayes said, as all product development expertise will be under one roof.
“This really speeds up the whole innovation process and brings added efficiencies.”
In prepared remarks released ahead of the announcement in Dublin on Tuesday morning, Kerry Group chief executive Stan McCarthy said: “The establishment of this new global technology and innovation centre is consistent with the Group’s Kerry Strategy for Sustainable Growth, providing our customers with access to Kerry’s total technical and innovation capability to optimise product differentiation in the marketplace and provide unrivalled speed to market.”
He added that the new centre would work with the company’s existing technology and innovation facilities in North America and the Asia Pacific region.
Among several officials present at the announcement was Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said in a statement: “The decision by Kerry Group, with the support of the Irish Government, to establish this ground breaking facility in Ireland will bolster our strong reputation as a globally renowned country for food production and innovation. The creation of 800 high skilled jobs going into this facility in addition to the 400 immediate construction jobs will be a great boost to the economy and for the people working in these industries.”