Irish farmer-owned dairy Glanbia Co-op rebrands as Tirlán

The new name – yet to be approved by the co-op’s shareholders – stands for ‘land of abundance’

Ireland’s Glanbia Co-operative Society and Glanbia have rebranded as Tirlán.

The two businesses adopted a new identity to reflect the co-op’s acquisition of the remaining 40% stake in Glanbia Ireland from Glanbia plc to become the sole owner of the business.

Glanbia plc will retain and continue to operate under the Glanbia name as a separate entity while Tirlán will remain the largest shareholder in Glanbia plc, with a 31.9% shareholding. Glanbia Co-operative Society will also be known as Tirlán from now on.

The co-op says the new name stands for “land of abundance” and was inspired by the Irish words for land (tír) and full (lán). The rebranding aims to highlight “the deep connection and relationship between the co-op, its people and the land”, added the co-op.

Owned by farmers, Tirlán, which forecasts sales of €3bn for this year, includes 11 high-tech processing facilities, 52 agri-branches and over 2,100 employees. It is the country’s largest buyer and user of Irish grains, handling over 270,000 tonnes, including a portfolio of premium grains.

“It is with a sense of history and optimism that we unveil Tirlán as an ambitious, innovative, and modern co-op that combines the best of our heritage, all our people, and our expertise,“ said CEO Jim Bergin. “Our organisation has evolved over our 100-year history. Entering this new phase of our co-op’s journey, Tirlán has ambitions for an ever-increasing role in the wider economy, the international food and nutrition sectors, and especially in rural communities across the country.

“We are so proud of our history and heritage and determined that the sense of pride and identity is always at the heart of our business. That is what Tirlán represents.”

Tirlán chair John Murphy said: “Over the decades, Tirlán has consistently underpinned the livelihoods of our people and our communities. This next exciting step in our evolution will see even stronger bonds with our farmers, our people and our customers. I am really excited about the launch of Tirlán and the opportunities for this ambitious company to grow and develop in the coming years.

“We have great brands, well-invested facilities and most importantly, a superb team of people. Our farmers own the business and supply really high quality produce from family-run operations that are huge contributors to the rural economy. We will maintain our relentless ambition to deliver ever more sophisticated nutrition to our customers and reap the rewards for our farm families.

“Our strong ambitions require an identity that reflects our position as a co-operative that cares for our people and strives to deliver a sustainable future for all. I strongly believe Tirlán achieves that objective.”

The official launch of the new identity featured Tirlán’s brand ambassador – Leinster, Ireland, and British and Irish Lions rugby international Tadhg Furlong who is from a farming background in Co. Wexford.

He said: “Coming from a country background and a farming family, I know the hugely important role farming co-operatives play in local communities and economies across Ireland. In that regard, Tirlán is one of the most important businesses in Ireland and I am proud to help promote visibility and awareness of the co-op to farming families, Tirlán customers, and the wider public over the coming months.”

The new name has been criticised by some due to what Irish speakers denounced as the misspelling of the word “tír”. Those contestimg the choise argued that ‘tir’ without a fada is not a recognised word in the Irish language. Others also pointed out that the Irish word for abundance is ‘neart’ or ‘flúirse’ not, “Lán”.

A press person for the co-op said only one fada was used in order to simplify the name and make it more relevant in a global context as it exports to 80 countries. “We chose to include one of the fadas as a distinct Irish reference and looked at other well-known consumer brands which also include an accent,” they added.

The co-op’s shareholders will vote to approve the name change over the coming weeks.