Ornua, the Ireland-based dairy co-operative, has opened an R&D facility in Spain in a bid to build its business supplying foodservice operators in the country.

The company said the site, based at its Spanish head office in Avila, would also help the unit's ambition of increasing its scale in southern Europe. Ornua is looking to produce new product lines and formats at the facility, including functional food and cheese ingredients. The co-op's foodservice customers in Spain include pizza chain Telepizza.

The investment comes a year after Ornua acquired Spanish pizza cheese and cheese blends manufacturer Luxtor.

"Since acquiring the business in 2014 we have strengthened our position in the Spanish market by building a significant manufacturing, trading and sales hub to service our growing Southern Europe customer base," Ornua CEO Kevin Lane said. "Investment in new product development will allow us to build on that, enabling us to more effectively meet the changing needs of our customers and to target new markets."

The co-op, until March called The Irish Dairy Board, also sells branded butter and cheese under the Kerrygold brand in Spain.