Manufacturing & Technology

Irish Shellfish Producer to Open Oat Milk Facility Following Decline in Demand for Seafood

Irish shellfish producer Errigal Bay is set to open an oat milk facility in the county of Donegal, citing decreased demand for seafood and a growing market for plant-based products.

The facility will be located next to one of Errigal Bay’s existing seafood processing facilities, in an area originally intended as a seafood cold store. However, the cold store is no longer needed due to changing market conditions; in a recently approved planning application, Errigal Bay noted that the loading on its existing facility has reduced in recent years, since “seafood production has experienced a decline in demand”.

Consequently, the company intends to protect its existing employees and create further job opportunities by entering the plant-based sector. The new facility will also help to support local farmers, as it will use oats grown in the nearby Finn Valley and rapeseed oil sourced from within Donegal. Byproducts of the facility will be used for consumer foods, health products, and animal feed.

oats & oat milk
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Changing market conditions

A study conducted by Oatly last year found that a third of Irish consumers were buying more plant-based meat and dairy alternatives than three years previously, motivated by concerns about climate change and health. Dairy alternatives in particular were said to be “on the cusp of entering the mainstream” in the country.

The approval of the new Errigal Bay oat milk facility comes just weeks after ministers from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland announced a €9 million funding initiative supporting projects that use biomass produced in Ireland to develop products with demonstrable sustainability benefits.

“Economic and market conditions have changed over the lifetime of the main building permissions, such that the original intended use as a seafood cold store is no longer seen as viable,” said Errigal Bay in its planning application. “However, the Company has identified the growing market in the production of plant based products as an ideal process to locate within the proposed new building.”

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