Kerrygold has opened a £30m cheese packing plant in Leek, Staffordshire, that it claims is one of Europe's most environmentally friendly facilities.

The factory and office complex was opened last week by Irish food minister Brendan Smith.

It would speed up cheese processing and packing with 20 production lines cutting, slicing, grating and packing cheese into different sizes, Kerrygold said.

It also featured 'green' technology that would help cut its carbon footprint 15%, said managing director Carl Ravenhall. This included energy-saving equipment such as sun-pipes, photo-voltaic cells, CHP and air-cooled refrigeration.

"The factory sets a new benchmark for process efficiency and hygiene standards and provides additional capacity to support future growth," said Ravenhall. "It represents a significant achievement in becoming 'best in class' in the dairy sector."