Tine currently exports a total of 12,500 tonnes of Jarlsberg cheese annually and the company said that Europe and Australia were currently its most important markets.
Jarlsberg cheese is a sweet and nutty cheese with round holes. It is available in rinded and rindless varieties and is a popular ingredient in hot dishs and salads, said the Norwegian company.
Jarlsberg cheese represents 60 per cent of Tine's total exports and the company claims that the the cheese is one of Norway's most successful exports in the world market. Jarlsberg is already the top selling imported cheese in the US and Tine's new venture with the Irish Dairy Co-op is hoped to result in the cheese become more popular.
Hanne Refsholt, Tine's senior vice president, says that commercial production in Ireland is planned to begin before 2005.