Carbery dairy group enjoys big jump in revenue and profit while warning on costs

Cork-based dairy group benefitted from higher dairy prices internationally

Carbery Group, a Cork-based producer of Dubliner Cheese and Carbery Cracker, has reported a big jump in revenue and profit for last year on the back of strong dairy sales internationally.

However, it warned that rising energy and freight costs were likely to translate into higher food prices on the shelves for consumers.

The Ballineen-headquartered dairy and ingredients group said revenue rose by 17 per cent to €535.7 million in 2021, while operating profit before interest and tax and other items rose by 10 per cent to €31.2 million.

Irish dairy companies have benefitted from increased butter, cheese and milk prices connected to a shortage of supply globally, and continued strong demand from Asia and other markets.


Carbery said 612 million litres of milk were processed at its Ballineen campus in 2021, an increase of 2.7 per cent ,while over 63,000 tonnes of cheese were produced, including 10,000 tonnes of mozzarella.

Carbery’s Ballineen plant is the largest single cheese-producing facility in the Republic, producing over 25 per cent of our annual cheese output.

The company, which is owned by four local co-ops and employs about 900 staff, opened a specialist mozzarella-production unit at Ballineen in 2020, diversifying its traditional focus on cheddar cheese, which is heavily reliant on the UK market.

Carbery chief executive Jason Hawkins confirmed that inflation and rising costs were being felt by Carbery, like most companies. "We have seen certain costs like energy and freight significantly rise.

“We export the majority of what we produce, and we are fortunate that the demand for our products has remained strong, even throughout Covid. So, we are feeling the impacts, but heading into 2022 and its challenges with a strong performance in 2021 and confidence in our business strategy is helping to manage this,” Mr Hawkins said.


Carbery expanded its portfolio of interests last year, acquiring Innova, a Chicago-based international flavours company.

The emergence of the low and no alcohol beverage category has seen a recently-developed hop essence becoming a key performer in in the group’s favours portfolio.

Despite increases in production the company saw a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the group of 4.12 per cent, while water use reduced by 17 per cent.

The Irish dairy industry, which has expanded rapidly since the lifting of EU-wide quotas in 2015, has come under greater scrutiny amid concern over its emissions footprint and deteriorating rates of water quality.

Carbery said its sustainability project "Farm Zero C", which is supported by funding from Science Foundation Ireland, continued in its ambition to create a climate-neutral model for dairy farming.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times