HILBERT, WI — Wisconsin-based Whitehall Specialties, Inc. (WSI), a cheese industry leader founded in 1994, is now officially named Ornua Ingredients North America (OINA), completing an integration first announced in October 2021. This acquisition is central to OINA’s ambitious long-term growth strategy.
WSI and OINA each have decades-long histories of providing food manufacturers, retail and foodservice customers with customized functional cheese solutions. Each is also known for nurturing long-term customer relationships, best-in-class technical expertise, innovative product lines and experienced teams that pride themselves on excellence.
More about OINA and WSI
An Irish dairy co-op, Ornua may not be a familiar name to most Americans. But they are likely familiar with the parent company’s flagship brand, Kerrygold, the number-two selling butter brand in the U.S.
OINA custom formulates and manufactures a complete line of functional and nutritional cheese-based ingredient solutions for leading food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the U.S., Canada, Central and South America. The company has two production facilities, in Hilbert and Byron.
WSI contributes its expertise in the development, application and manufacturing of a range of customized processed, analogue and plant-based cheese products in a wide array of great tasting configurations and varieties. The company also has long-standing relationships with food manufacturing, retail, and foodservice customers.
WSI’s four advanced production and warehousing facilities, two in Whitehall and one in Hillsboro, WI; the other in Slippery Rock, PA., will now operate under the Ornua name.
The global cheese industry can expect even more innovation from this acquisition
Commenting on the announcement, OINA President Rick Pedersen said, “Whitehall’s expertise, product lines and strong industry relationships make it an excellent fit for OINA.”
“This acquisition creates a larger global player in the cheese industry. We expect to see a strong growth trajectory as we capitalize on our shared technical expertise and innovation. With our market share and scale of operations increased, OINA has the added capacity and flexibility to support our existing and new customers’ growth plans in new and ambitious ways.”
What this means for Whitehall’s communities
OINA has an 80-year history of being an employer of choice within the dairy industry, and affirms a strong commitment to the WSI communities in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Together with WSI’s 500 employees, OINA now has an 800 strong team.
“Our cooperative ethos is at the heart of how Ornua does business,” Rick added. “We are focused on developing and supporting our people and recognize that investing in talent underpins our success. Our mission is to create value for our people, customers and farmer shareholders. We call it Growth for Good.”
Ornua is a dairy co-operative which sells dairy products on behalf of its members, Ireland’s dairy processors and, in turn, Irish dairy farmers. It is Ireland’s largest purchaser of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Dublin, it has annualized sales of over €2.5 billion and a global team of 2,900 employees. Ornua operates from 10 business units worldwide, including 16 production facilities, and has sales and marketing teams working in-market across all four corners of the globe.
The group is structured across two divisions: Ornua Foods and Ornua Ingredients.
Ornua Ingredients is responsible for the procurement of Irish and non-Irish dairy products and for the sale of dairy ingredients to food manufacturing and foodservice customers across the world. Ornua Ingredients is also responsible for managing volatility through de-risking and trading strategies. The business is supported by production facilities in Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK, the U.S. and by in-market teams in Africa and the Middle East.
Ornua Foods is responsible for the marketing and sales of Ornua’s consumer brands including Kerrygold, Dubliner, Pilgrims Choice, Kerrygold Avantage, Forto, and BEO. Markets are served by production facilities and in-market sales and marketing teams in Africa, Asia, Germany, Ireland, the UK, the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and the US.