The diagnosis is clear: the current plant and the building housing it have long since passed their prime. Today's cheese dairy in Emmen was put into operation in 1976. After examining various options – such as renovating the building or replacing the cheese dairy facility – it was clear that the only viable option would be a new building.
The new structure will be 60 metres long, 40 metres wide and 16 metres high, and will be located on a former parking lot for trucks, directly behind the existing cheese dairy building. The groundbreaking ceremony for the cheese dairy building was held in mid-January.
Leading the way for development
By summer 2022, construction of the new main plant will be complete and commissioning can begin. "Emmen and Central Switzerland are where Emmi was born, and Swiss cheese is one of the key pillars of our growth strategy. A large, modern, resource-conserving cheese dairy with short transport routes to our milk suppliers is the perfect complement to our speciality cheeses from commercial cheese dairies,” says Marc Heim, Deputy CEO of Emmi.
Reduced water and energy consumption
Whey treatment with a new filtration system will enable around 60 million litres of water to be recovered going forward for subsequent reuse in the cheese dairy. In addition, the new facility is generally more economical in its use of resources and consumption of energy. Processes have also been shifted between the locations, saving transport costs and reducing the corresponding emissions.
What's special about the new facility? “There are only five cheese dairies worldwide that feature the special technology used in the new facility,” says Emmi project manager Ann-Kathrin Kleinthomä. Now, the curd is filled into the mould by the four finishers directly via a filling machine. “This process makes the cheese more uniform.” Quality will be enhanced as a result.
“We are equipping ourselves for the future and believe in the cheese business.”
Better quality of workplaces
Today, employees have to “pick up” 18 to 20 tonnes of cheese several times a day. This will now be a thing of the past. Workplace conditions will be significantly improved, especially with regard to ergonomics and lighting conditions.
Another driving factor behind the new cheese dairy is that the existing one has reached the limit of its capacity. The volume of milk processed into cheese at the Emmen site has doubled in the last ten years. Demand is expected to increase in the coming years as well, especially for the popular Luzerner Rahmkäse cream cheese from Emmen. "Luzerner", as it is colloquially known, was launched in the early 1970s but is experiencing a revival in popularity today, especially on the family table.
Added value for the region
“We expect this investment to accelerate this development,” says David Stadelmann, Head of Cheese Operations in Emmen. “We are equipping ourselves for the future and believe in the cheese business - after all, 60 percent of milk is processed into cheese at the Emmen site.” This opens up additional prospects for milk suppliers, while the new building will also bring added value to the region.