Norco is set to boost production at its Lismore ice cream facility by 20 million litres per year with a $30m factory upgrade kicking off this month.

The factory upgrade has been undertaken with support from both federal and local government with Norco receiving a $15m grant towards the project as part of a major program targeting growth in regional areas.

Norco, which is Australia’s only 100 per cent farmer-owned dairy cooperative, has enjoyed increased demand for its Hinterland ice cream range, which launched last year, and is now available in 11 flavours nationally.

The factory upgrade will allow the dairy co-op to make space for new production lines and further expansion in years to come.

Michael Hampson, CEO, Norco, said the investment demonstrates Norco’s commitment to building a sustainable future for the co-op’s farmer owners.

“As our largest commercial investment to date, the factory upgrade will allow us to double-down on our commitment to providing value to our farmers while also supporting the future of the local area with greater long-term employment opportunities. 

“We’ve seen the demand for our ice-cream manufacturing services really strengthen over the past few years, and the new facility will allow us to expand our production capacity to meet the needs of our current customers, and attract new ones, while also producing special and innovative flavours without compromising on the delivery of our core lines.

“Our farmer owners have proven time and time again that they can maintain top quality milk even when the environment is tough, so we are confident that with this upgrade we will be able to grow our ice-cream business and meet the growing consumer demand for more complex products at the right price.”

The works will see more than 30 jobs created in the local community during the construction phase, with further permanent positions becoming available when work is complete.

Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, who supported Norco’s application for government funding, said the upgrade will safeguard jobs for the Lismore community and ensure long term profitability for Norco’s farmer members.

“Norco came to me with plans to substantially increase production capacity and improve efficiencies at their Lismore ice cream factory to ensure the job security of its existing employees at that site and to expand its workplace.

“I am proud to have worked with them to get the funding so these plans could go ahead.”

The first phase of building works is currently underway and expected to be completed in the second half of next year.

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