From its new production plant in the Hessian city of Hünfeld in central Germany, Hochwald will supply the baby and infant food industry worldwide.
Since the start of the project, $101m (€90m) has been invested in the Hünfeld site with the drying plant, expansion of the cheese plant and a new industrial wastewater treatment plant.
Whey from cheese plant utilized
A Hochwald spokesperson told DairyReporter that this production was a first for the cooperative.
“It is the first production facility where we can produce very high quality [products] for the baby and infant food industry.”
The new plant processes the whey from the Hochwald cheese plant into a precursor of baby and infant food. The desalinated whey concentrate is supplied to the food processing industry either as a liquid or dried in powder form.
“The new facility processes 1m liters of whey a day, which is around 60 tons of demineralized whey powder,” the spokesperson said.
Skimmed milk facility
A plant for the production of skimmed milk concentrate, which also supplies the baby and infant food industry, was installed in parallel at the Hochwald site in Hungen, approximately 80km west of Hünfeld.
The spokesperson said that all of the milk is sourced from German dairy farms. Hochwald has 3,800 member milk suppliers, with 1,400 more on a contract basis.
Detlef Latka, chief financial officer of Hochwald, said, “The decision to open up a new field of business for Hochwald to provide more added value with this plant was absolutely the right one. The future of our company does not lie in the commodity sector but, given the poor market situation, in further processing and thus higher in the value-added chain.”
Variety of dairy products
Hochwald Foods, with its head office in Thalfang, and production facilities in Germany and the Netherlands, employs approximately 460 people in Hessen.
The cooperative covers the entire dairy spectrum, with brands such as Bärenmarke, Lünebest, Glücksklee, Elinas and Hochwald, as well as trademarks and international brands such as Bonny.