Top Irish Food and Drink firms operating and investing in the US

The Ireland INC Index lists the top Irish companies operating and investing in the US. This week we take a look at the Food and Drink companies on the Index.


Best known internationally for its Magners cider brand, C&C Group has production facilities in Ireland, the UK and the US. Its wholly owned US subsidiary, Vermont Hard Cider Company, has full responsibility for the sales and marketing of the group’s portfolio of cider brands in the US. In FY2017, C&C’s US business constituted c.4% of Group volumes and less than 1% of operating profits.


Headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, Fyffes’ family of companies in North America has an expansive distribution of fresh produce throughout the U.S. and Canada: Sol Group Marketing is the #1 grower and importer of offshore melons; Highline Mushrooms is the third largest grower and distributor of mushrooms; and Fyffes North America Inc. is the fourth largest importer of banana, pineapple and ethnic tropical produce


One of the world’s top nutrition companies, Glanbia plc was formed in 1997 out of the merger of Avonmore Foods plc and Waterford Foods plc, and today employs over 6,600 people across 32 countries. Glanbia entered into the US with the acquisition of a number of small cheese plants in the 1980s ad 1990s, which form the basis of its market leading business there.

The United States now boasts the most Glanbia facilities of any country, with 12 manufacturing operations and corporate offices across 7 states (Idaho, New Mexico, Illinois, South Dakota, Florida, Missouri and California)


Greencore Group plc is a leading international convenience food company. It was established by the Irish government in 1991 when they privatised Irish Sugar, and is today the world’s largest sandwich manufacturer.

Headed up by Patrick Coveney and listed on the London Stock Exchange, it is part of the FTSE 250 Index. Greencore’s US headquarters is in Chicago, with numerous further operations in Illinois, as well as California, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington and Ohio.


Kepak Group is the first Irish meat processing company to launch an Irish beef retail brand —Celtic Beef Company— in the USA. Kepak North America has been in operation for two years and launched the brand, Celtic Beef Company, in September 2017.

A family-run business that began with a butcher’s shop, Kepak has grown to an internationally operating, multi-faceted food innovator with 30,000 employees across 30 countries.


Employees in the US: 5,000

Having commenced operation from a green field site in Listowel, Co. Kerry in 1972, the Kerry organisation has evolved from a private dairy processor, to a dairy co-operative, to its current incarnation as a public company with annualised sales of approximately €6.4 billion, and operations established in 27 countries across five continents.

Kerry began exporting dairy ingredients to the US in 1972 and opened its first overseas food ingredients manufacturing plant in Jackson, Wisconsin in 1987. Today, Kerry’s US Taste & Nutrition business, headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin, operates 40 manufacturing sites throughout the US, employing approximately 5,000 people.


Lakeland Dairies Group is a dairy co-operative based in Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland.

It operates across fifteen counties in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, and is Ireland’s second largest dairy co-operative, processing roughly 1.2 billion litres of milk annually.

Lakeland Dairies currently has dedicated operations in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States and exports to 77 countries worldwide.


Lifes2good is a leading global Nutraceutical business, based in Galway, with a portfolio of category-leading brands worldwide.

Lifes2Good opened its US office in 2007, launching its flagship brand Viviscal into the US hair loss market and signing up direct distribution in the US.

By 2012 Viviscal was on the shelves of 25,000 US stores including Walgreens, Rite Aid, GNC and Duane Reade. In 2017 the Viviscal brand was sold to Church & Dwight for €150 million and Lifes2Good launched the Berkeley Life supplements into 12,000 stores in the US.

Lifes2good also has international offices in Chicago, London, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Mexico City.


Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Dublin, Marco Beverage Systems Ltd designs and manufactures leading hot water delivery systems for the global food service market.

Entering the US market in 2010, Marco Beverage Systems were exclusively distributed by La Marzocca USA. In 2015 they established their own US presence, with sales and customer support.

Marco Beverage Systems also have global presences in the UK, the Netherlands and China.


Ornua North America is the home of Irish brands such as Kerrygold and Londoner cheese, bringing the unique taste of Ireland to the world. Kerrygold is the only imported/speciality butter in the top 10 butter brands sold in the US.

Ornua North America’s head office is located in Evanston, Illinois and current customers and listings include Costco, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, Target, Aldi, Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger.

Ornua Ingredients North America division had a record year in 2017 and it commissioned a new €2m shred and dice line. Ornua Ingredients North America has facilities including a 110,000 sq ft facility in Hilbert, Wisconsin and a 25,000 sq ft plant in Byron, Minnesota.


With a turnover in excess of €3.5 billion, Total Produce is one of the world’s largest fresh produce providers, and has been pursuing a steady acquisition strategy within the US since 2013, and becoming an increasingly prominent force in the North American marketplace, with 500 employees across its US businesses.

It operates in the US through the Oppy brand with offices in Seattle, WA, Tampa, FL, Visalia, CA, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Newark, DE, and Eco Farms and Progressive Produce in California, Progressive Produce in Quincy, ZA, and Keystone Fruit Marketing, PA.

Further to its expansion plans, Total Produce is expected to exercise its right to purchase all the shares in US-based Dole Food Company within five years, having acquired an initial 45 per cent stake for $300 million in cash (€242 million) in late January 2018, bringing together two global brands and creating the world’s leading fruit and vegetable group.

It also recently took a 50 per cent stake in a California company, The Fresh Connection, which was announced in November 2017.

This article was originally published in Business & Finance on December 3rd 2018.