Case study 03-IT
Small dairy created by two formers students of ISIS Ciuffelli (MILK-ed partner) who transform cow, sheep and goat milk purchased from selected local farmers with quality control. The sales are made both in the company shop, located in town of about 15 thousand inhabitants, and with a traveling van in open-air markets.
The dairy produces different types of cheeses and ricotta with a small production of yogurt and the owners would like to develop new goat milk processing technologies in the future.
They would also like to develop new types of lactic drinks made with goat, sheep or mixed milk, but they need training in this regard.
The dairy and the shop are located in the town center of Marsciano. The buildings that the company uses are rented but the machinery needed for milk processing are property of the company.
The owners do not have their own farm but they purchase the different types of milk from local small farmers and then they process and sell dairy products. Their main products are soft and hard cheeses, yogurt and ricotta cheese. The company processes 200 litres of milk per day and they also have started innovative multifunctional activities like:
– Production of cheese obtained from biological milk;
– Production of cheese of high quality produced with milk obtained from grazing animals.
Acquire a good technical preparation, have patience and passion and get a boost from personal satisfaction to move forward.
Multifunctional farming activities related to dairy processing / Innovation related to products and/or processing
The company started the multifunctional activities in 2016.
The decision to start the multifunctional activities was taken in order to introduce foreigners to traditional local products and in order to favour the purchase of the products.
Those activities comprise:
– Organization of study visits at the dairy to show the cheese making process to groups;
– Tasting of traditional local products at the shop on the dairy premises;
– Demonstration days organized in collaboration with two local hotels for foreign tourists (mainly Dutch and American tourists).
Since 2015 the company has been carrying out also innovative activities related to products and/or milk processing in order to meet different consumers’ tastes and so to access new market niches.
The innovative activities related to products and/or processing are:
– Production of a cheese made of goat (30%) and sheep (70%) milk called “Caprecora”;
– Production of spiced caciotta called “Spaghetti” with garlic, chilli pepper and parsley;
– Production of a hard small caciotta called “Nestorino” to be cooked on a plate.
The main challenge to face when starting such an activity is to develop the “recipes” of the different products and the technologies of the production process.
For the initial investment required, the company made use of a bank loan for the purchase of the dairy and of shop tools and machinery. As far as external consulting is concerned, the owners only use a tax advisor, the rest is done by them. During the period of COVID 19, the company has also started to do home delivery of the products on telephone request in order to make their products better known, to create a relationship of trust with the consumer and to increase the customers making their products more easily accessible. Furthermore, the development of innovative activities has made possible for the company to intercept new customers, looking for new tastes and more accessible products. The owners say it is very difficult but very important to create a relationship of trust with the customer. For them, having a loyal clientele leads to stability in sales with lower business economic risk.
At the moment the company has reached a stable financial balance that can last over time even though it is difficult to predict the future after covid-19.
Training/Competences (Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes) especially relevant for the process
For doing this job, it is important to have studies related to agri-food processing at university level and to have high technical competence of the production processes. It is also crucial to be active in observing and deepening the techniques and processes used by other companies to be always up to date. Finally, besides quality and know how, of course marketing techniques are essential to sell the products effectively. For example, it is very important to let customers coming from abroad know how our cheeses are made, making them come to the dairy in person and showing the whole production process. In this way, a relationship of trust with the consumer is created and he will be more willing to purchase the products.