WHITEHALL, WIS. – Formerly known as Whitehall Specialties Inc., the Wisconsin-based cheese company now has officially changed its name to Ornua Ingredients North America (OINA), a final step after Irish dairy cooperative Ornua acquired Whitehall in 2021.
Founded in 1994 as Whitehall Specialties, the newly renamed company provides functional analog, plant-based and blended cheese products and cheese solutions to food manufacturing, retail and foodservice customers.
The company’s four advanced production and warehousing facilities – two in Whitehall, Wis., one in Hillsboro, Wis., and one in Slippery Rock, Pa. – now will operate under the Ornua name.
The Wisconsin-based cheese company brings its expertise in developing and manufacturing cheeses, as well as the company’s long-established connections in food manufacturing, retail and foodservice to OINA, which custom formulates and manufactures cheese-based ingredients for food manufacturers and foodservice companies in the United States, Canada and Central and South America.
Before the acquisition, Ornua already had flagship brand Kerrygold, the number-two selling butter brand in the US, and two production facilities, located in Hilbert, Wis., and Byron, Minn.
Ornua acquired Whitehall Specialties Inc. (WSI) from Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells.
"Whitehall's expertise, product lines and strong industry relationships make it an excellent fit for OINA,” said OINA president Rick Pedersen.
"This acquisition creates a larger global player in the cheese industry,” Pedersen said. “We expect to see a strong growth trajectory as we capitalize on our shared technical expertise and innovation. With our market share and scale of operations increased, OINA has the added capacity and flexibility to support our existing and new customers' growth plans in new and ambitious ways."
With the addition of the 500 Whitehall employees, OINA now had a team of 800 people.
"Our cooperative ethos is at the heart of how Ornua does business," Pedersen siad. "We are focused on developing and supporting our people and recognize that investing in talent underpins our success. Our mission is to create value for our people, customers and farmer shareholders. We call it growth for good."
Irish dairy cooperative Ornua sells products on behalf of its members, Ireland’s dairy processors and dairy farmers. Headquartered in Dublin, it is Ireland’s largest purchaser of Irish dairy products, exporting to 110 countries worldwide, with annualized sales of more than €2.5 billion and a global team of 2,900 employees.