Case study 02-IT
The dairy, a medium-sized private company, is located on the ISIS Ciuffelli (MILK-ed partner) school farm on properties rented by the school itself. The company has always been linked to the school through convention-agreements for student and training activities.
The owner buys milk from local farmers and produces numerous cow, sheep and goat cheeses as well as ricotta and a small production of yogurt. The top product is mozzarella.
Currently 10 people work there, all students of the school, like the owner.
The owner would like to develop the sector of milk beverages and beverages obtained through milk whey and he will need collaboration to experiment with these new products.
The company is not a farm, they only perform dairy processing. The buildings that the company uses are rented but the machinery needed for milk processing are property of the company and they have been recently renewed. Their main products are: soft and hard cheeses, yogurt, ricotta cheese and other cheese typologies. The company processes around 2,000 litres of milk per day. They sell their products through direct sales in their store and through local distributors in other stores in central Italy. They recently started selling online.
The owner also carries out demonstration activities through guided tours of the dairy, as well as tasting and promotion of its products in combination with other typical local products at the shop.
Acquire a good basic scientific knowledge, have an entrepreneurial mind-set when starting new activities and do not be scared to pursue them. Learn from others “stealing with your eyes” and innovate without fear. “If you don’t innovate you won’t grow.”
Multifunctional farming activities related to dairy processing / Innovation related to products and/or processing
Since 2010 the company has been carrying out multifunctional activities supporting the dairy processing. These activities consist in:
– Organization of event days at the dairy to show people how cheeses are produced;
– Weekly tastings at the company shop of traditional local products;
– Training days on dairy products for students
– Demonstration days for tourists at the dairy.
The decision of starting multifunctional activities was made in order to take care of social relationships with the community and was motivated by a great passion for social life and for the environment.
Furthermore, in 2015 the company started other innovative activities concerning the production of new products like:
– Goat cheese called “GranCapra”;
– Cow cheese from rawmilk;
– Mixed and/or sheep ricotta with different degrees of creaminess;
– Production line for all cheeses, mozzarella and ricotta without lactose.
It is very important to try to understand if the innovations undertaken could be successful in the market. Guessing the changes in consumer’s tastes is crucial in order to be able to match them.
To reach this goal, a company needs the advice of experts. With the exception of the technical expertise provided by the owner, the company makes use of external consultants for everything else it needs; any choice and / or innovation is carried out under the supervision of these consultants.
The development of innovative activities has allowed them to pursue the needs of new consumers and to improve the image of the dairy by showing constant proximity to consumers, remaining ahead of the competition. The continuous research, improving the quality of the products, has satisfied the requests of market more effectively.
The tastes of the consumers change very quickly; for example, the covid-19 outbreak has caused a big change in cheese consumption by significantly increasing the demand for fresh products (e.g. mozzarella, stracchino and ricotta) but drastically decreasing the consumption of hard and semi-hard products (e.g. pecorino, caciotta, etc.); therefore, production needs to shift in this sense.
Besides the quality and variety of products it is also very important to create a relationship of trust with the consumers and to be present on the territory. In order to do so, besides the direct sale through the company shop, the company has created a network of independent wholesalers and retailers operating in central Italy and a network of small shops supplied directly within the Umbria region. To reach clients even further, an online sales platform for all local agri-food products that are currently on sale at the company shop will be in operation from June 2020. To this end, a local warehouse and shipment system will be created in addition to revising the packaging system, especially for fresh products.
Training/Competences (Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes) especially relevant for the process
In order to realize a quality product, the personnel should have high technical competence on the production processes. These can be achieved only through intensive and continuous training and by being constantly updated on the innovations on the market.
Furthermore, a person with a degree in Economics and Business and with a specialization in Marketing would be required in order to have a more effective spreading of the products.
The owner always says that his dream would be to create a dairy school in his diary.