In 1907, 62 cooperatives founded the Central Switzerland Milk Association in Lucerne (Zentralschweizerischer Milchverband, MVL). The Association gained a foothold in the canton of Lucerne in 1919 through the purchase of milk from the Neuhüsern dairy cooperative in the commune of Emmen. Initially, Sbrinz cheese was produced there during the 1920s, with production of soft cheese beginning in the 1940s.
The general shortage of food during the two world wars resulted in state control of milk production and processing. The state delegated implementation of its decisions on the dairy industry to various institutions. The old shepherd’s hut owned by the MVL in Hasli-Emmen (canton of Lucerne) was therefore converted into a milk regulation unit by the Emmentaler cheese dairy in 1944. Milk from Emmen was also supplied to Ticino and Basel at this time, in addition to the city of Lucerne and surrounding urban areas.
Soft cheese and yoghurt was marketed under the Emmi brand name in Emmen for the first time in 1947, the name referring to the municipality of Emmen. Emmi brand yoghurts were initially supplied in glass jars, and in plastic pots from 1962. In order to satisfy demand, the newly built "Milchhof" production site in Emmen became operational in 1966, with new successful products such as "Coupe Chantilly" soon being manufactured there. The Emmen area formed the basis for Emmi’s further expansion.
The production site in Dagmersellen has also been operational since the 1960s. Built by MVL over 50 years ago to process the constantly growing milk deliveries, milk powder is still manufactured there today. In recent years, the site has also become the largest Swiss mozzarella production site.
General Meeting on 23 June: Creation of the company Emmi AG, which is organized into a modern, division-based structure. Emmi reinforces its customer proximity by separating association activities from commercial ones. In 1993, Emmi defines itself the strategy of becoming national market leader and strengthening its activities abroad by means of increased exports and licensing.
Expansion in the cheese sector with the acquisition of Refa Weichkäse AG and From Fresh AG in Kaltbach. Setup of an experimental cheese dairy at the Neuhüsern facility. The Kaltbach facility is converted into an Emmi speciality cheeses facility with natural cave-based ageing.
Growth via market share gains in the desserts and mozzarella segments, as well as through innovations. Implementation of a project geared towards strict cost-cutting.
First-time production of functional food with "Aktifit". Commencement of operations at a cheese ageing facility in Emmen and a mozzarella factory in Dagmersellen.
Acquisition of internationally active cheese trading companies Alfred Gerber AG, Thun; Farner & Co AG, Langenthal; Firma Bürki & Cie, Berne; Gebrüder Joost AG, Langnau.
Commencement of operations at the Coop dairy in Basel, beginning of partnership with soft cheese producer Baer AG in Küssnacht and the North-Western Switzerland Milk Association. Acquisition of Zingg AG, Liebefeld, which is active in the fondue and process cheese segments, on 1 January 2002. Start-up of fine logistics company Emmi Interfrais SA following the acquisition of Baer Interfromage SA.
Successful issue of a subordinated bond with a conditional conversion right in the amount of CHF 71.3 million. Planning for the IPO in 2005. Acquisition of Burra AG, a catering supplier to the Zurich region, on 1 January 2002. Commencement of operations at the new fresh products logistics centre in Emmen (investment of CHF 33 million).
Acquisitions lead to an increase of over CHF 500 million in sales and the integration of approx. 850 employees: 2003 is a year of consolidation. Expansion work starts on the Kirchberg facility (packaging) with an investment of CHF 35 million, while proprietary marketing companies are established in the key export countries of Italy, Germany, France and the US.
Walter Huber takes over as CEO from Fritz Wyss, who plans to focus on his function as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Caffè Latte is launched in March, and goes on to become Emmi's most successful product launch. In November, Emmi announces a partnership with world leader Bongrain, and in December Emmi is floated on the stock exchange (SWX) to great success.
In 2005, Emmi exceeds the CHF 2 billion mark for the first time in terms of sales. Emmi strengthens its competence in the organics segment with the acquisition of a majority stake in the Biedermann dairy in Bischofszell TG, and expands its speciality cheese business with the purchase of a stake in Cetra Alimentari SA. Emmi launches Choco Latte and yoghurt drink Evolus (Portugal and Switzerland), and presents its own range of ice creams for the first time. Emmi sets its sights on Latin America with the acquisition of a minority stake in Spanish company Kaiku. World Champion Tom Lüthi rides with Caffè Latte: Emmi becomes main sponsor of the Elit-Caffè Latte Racing Team.
In January, Emmi announces a strategic partnership with US cheese producer Roth Ltd. In spring, Emmi launches an innovation in cheese: Swiss Alp is the first cheese with an edible herb coating. 1st April sees the operative launch of Mittelland Molkerei AG at the site in Suhr. By combining the production in Lucerne and Suhr, Emmi strengthens its international competitiveness. The acquisition of Northern Italian yoghurt producer Trentinalatte in the summer of 2006 is the first takeover by Emmi of a major producer abroad. In September Emmi announces the planned convergence of the two melting factories in Thun and Langnau. Other projects initiated include the increase in cheese production in Landquart and the extension of the cheese ripening storehouse in Moudon.
The successful partnership with DJ Bobo continues: in February, Emmi and DJ BoBo sign a contract for the next two years. Swiss Alp, launched in 2006, is selected as the "Best New Cheese 2007" at the renowned Dairy Innovation Awards. On the occasion of the general assembly in May, the former member of the Federal Council Joseph Deiss is selected as a new member of the board of directors. At the beginning of July, Walter Huber, CEO of the Emmi Group, announces that he will be leaving Emmi and will become the new manager of the Industry department at Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund. In September, Emmi announces that Urs Riedener, former manager of the Marketing department at Migros, will be Walter Huber's successor as CEO. On 3rd October, Emmi hosts the world's largest fondue event (outside Switzerland) in New York.
At the beginning of March, Urs Riedener will take over the management of the Emmi Group as the CEO. Before joining Emmi, Urs Riedener was Head of Marketing and Member of the Executive Board of the Migros Cooperative. Roger Federer's visit to see Tom Lüthi on the occasion of the MotoGP in Estoril is being covered by media worldwide.
Emmi acquires the American cheese specialist Roth Käse USA Ltd. with effect from 1 January, thus expanding its market position in the key US market. Changes take place in Group Management: three new members, Robin Barraclough (Marketing), Mark Heim (Sales), and Natalie Rüedi (Human Resources), take a seat on the management committee. In summer, Emmi acquires a majority shareholding in Geneva-based Nutrifrais SA, thus adding the well-known brand "TamTam" to the Emmi product portfolio. At the General Meeting on 20 May, Konrad Graber is elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, succeeding Fritz Wyss. Emmi defines a new sponsorship strategy and focuses on alpine skiing. The highlight is a major presence at the legendary Lauberhorn races.