July 11/Naas, Ireland/Irish Examiner -- Kerry Group has broken ground on its €100m Global Technology and Innovation Centre, which will employ 900 people when fully commissioned in 2016.

Located on a 28-acre site in the Millennium Business Park, Naas, Co Kildare, the new Europe Middle East and Asia centre will give customers access to Kerry’s technologies, scientific research, innovation and applications expertise across food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets.

There are 200 people already working in the interim facilities adjacent to the site. The campus will accommodate 800 people by year-end 2014, plus a further 100 in 2016. Some 600 construction workers are currently on-site.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, “The centre will be an industry-leading campus, supporting Ireland’s global reputation for excellence in research, technology development and innovation in the food and beverage industry.”

It is expected that more than 500 top food scientists from leading global firms will visit the Naas centre every year to develop products with Kerry Group. The group employs 24,000 people and has 150 manufacturing facilities in 25 countries. It has sales of €5.8 billion and is a world leader in food ingredients and flavors.

Kerry Group chairman Denis Buckley said, “Working in tandem with the group’s existing technology and innovation facilities, the new center will focus group-wide capability to drive strategic customer engagement and sustainable growth.

“Our project team has received tremendous support from the government, state agencies, Kildare County Council and Naas Town Council. We have also experienced wonderful employee engagement with the project since our initial announcement.”

Buckley said the new center will be a focal point for Kerry’s scientific research, technology and product development. It will also facilitate career and business leadership development for the group’s staff, plus accelerate graduate and career development, talent management and training.