Ornua to acquire cheese firm F.J. Need (Foods)

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

F.J. Need's Spinneyfields brand cheese. Picture: FJ Need (Foods).
F.J. Need's Spinneyfields brand cheese. Picture: FJ Need (Foods).

Related tags Cheese Milk

Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board) has signed an agreement to acquire F.J. Need (Foods), a Cheshire-based cheese company. 

The deal is part of Ornua’s plans to strengthen its business in Germany, North America and the UK, and includes a cheese cutting, grating and slicing facility, two cheese brands and a distribution fleet. 

As well as grated, diced, sliced, block and specialty cheeses, F.J. Need also produces dairy products including butter, powders and yogurt.

US-based CoreFX

The FJ Need acquisition will be the latest in a series of investments by Ornua, targeting new routes to market for Irish dairy products. In November it purchased US-based CoreFX in a deal thought to be worth up to €5m ($5.4m).  

Ornua is the largest buyer of British cheese in the UK and it owns the brand Pilgrim's Choice, which is the UK's number two cheddar brand, worth £72m ($91m).

Completion of the acquisition is subject to UK competition approval.

Kevin Lane, CEO, Ornua, told DairyReporter the acquisition is another important milestone in its growth as a global supplier of quality dairy products. 

“We are buying an excellent family dairy business which allows us to significantly strengthen our presence in the UK ingredients sector,” ​he said. 

“The complementary nature of our customer bases and the potential to further scale the business makes this a strong fit for Ornua.”

Responding to a question on whether F.J. Need’s current UK suppliers of milk and ingredients will still be supplying the company with materials in the short- and long-term, a spokesperson for Ornua told this website that "Ornua/FJ Need will continue to supply a comprehensive range of British and Irish cheese to its foodservice and food manufacturing customers and look to build on the potential it sees for supplying export markets."  

He added that there will be no negative impact on jobs.

Family-run company

F.J. Need (Foods) was established in 1973 by John Need, and is now run by his son, Paul (managing director), and daughter, Tracey (director), who will continue to work for the company after the acquisition.

The two firms have an existing relationship, with Ornua supplying Irish cheese to the company.

FJ Need Fleet

Lane added, if the deal is approved it will expand the current production of 16,000 tonnes at FJ Need’s cheese production facility, targeting the foodservice market in the UK and internationally.

In the last two years, Ornua has invested in acquisitions and capital expenditure in Africa, China, Germany, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK and US.  

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