Glanbia plc (/'gl?nbi?/)[a] is a global performance nutrition and ingredients group with operations in 32 countries. It has leading market positions in sports nutrition, cheese, dairy ingredients, speciality non-dairy ingredients and vitamin and mineral premixes. Glanbia products are sold or distributed in over 130 countries. While Europe and the USA represent the biggest markets, the Group are continuing to expand into the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Glanbia is listed on the Irish and London Stock Exchange (Symbol: GLB). The Group has four segments; Global Ingredients, Performance Nutrition, Dairy Ireland and Joint Ventures & Associates. Including Joint Ventures & Associates, Glanbia has over 5,200 employees worldwide in 32 countries. Dairy products have long formed the backbone of Irelands agricultural sector. In the early 19th century, the country was amongst the worlds largest producers of dairy products. In 1848, Ireland accounted for two thirds of butter imports into the port of London. Irish butter came under pressure by competitors which were modernising their systems with the newly developed cream separators. As a consequence, Irish butter imports to London dropped to under one per cent in the early 1880s. The new technologies and their introduction into Ireland fundamentally transformed the countrys dairy sector, which had previously been operated by small independent farmers. In order to support the costs of acquiring the new equipment, dairy farmers grouped together and built centralised dairy processing facilities – which became known as ‘creameries’. In the late 1880s, dairy farmers began adopting the cooperative format, often to enter into direct competition with the private creameries. Farmers who supplied milk to the co-ops were better served than those who sold it to the private creameries. In time, most of those businesses found that they were unable to compete with the farmer co-operatives, and many sold their premises and businesses to the co-ops.