Process equipment for the cheese plant is being delivered to Maslyanino, Novosibirsk oblast. Tetra Pak team are all set to install it. The first batch of dairy products is expected to roll off the production line next year. Meanwhile, works are in full swing.
The facility is a flagship project in the company’s milk processing business. 1,150 tonnes of raw milk a day will be processed at the plant, which is half of the volume produced in the Siberian region.
‘There are five major deadlines in the project schedule which correspond to the launches of five start-up facilities’, says Roman Denisevich, Construction Director. ‘The first one will commence its operation in 2021. This is when the production of pasteurised milk, yoghurts and curds will start at the plant and the first cheese wheels will be prepared for ripening. The launch of the fifth facility is planned for the first quarter of 2022.’
Currently, erection of steel structures and design of building utility systems are underway. The next stage will be process equipment installation and connecting the plant to the utilities.
‘Our project fits well with the renewed development strategy of EkoNiva Group’, says Sergey Lyakhov, EkoNiva-APK Holding Regional Director. ‘We are a major raw milk producer, and now we are ready to enter the market with our unique Russian brand of food products which undergo a strict quality control from field to shelf. Cheese will be our key product. We are planning to produce three types of cheese.’
The three types include the classical semi-hard Gouda-type cheese (production volume – 55 tonnes, raw milk consumption – 550 tonnes), self-pressing cheese (anticipated production volume – about 35 tonnes a day, raw milk consumption – 350 tonnes) and hard cheese with the average ripening period from 6 to 12 months and 18 months for the premium product. The plant is expected to produce approximately 10 tonnes of hard cheese per day, raw milk consumption will amount to 100 tonnes.
‘The product line-up will include traditional dairy products, like ryazhenka, milk, butter, curds, kefir and yoghurt’, continues Sergey Lyakhov. ‘Moreover, we are planning to turn out around 35 tonnes of dry demineralised whey.’
The objective of the company is to supply most of the goods – about 70% – to the European regions of Russia and such promising markets as Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. Moreover, EkoNiva has already shipped the first lot of its dairy products to the Celestial Empire.
‘We hope that the quality of our cheeses will meet the standards of the premium segment’, says Sergey Lyakhov. ‘Furthermore, we want to introduce our goods to customers from the European Union, who associate Siberia with an unspoilt environment and a vast expanse of fields, which adds up to the positive image of the brand.’
Successful operation of the plant requires uninterrupted supply of high-quality raw milk. By 2023, about 90% of the raw material will be sourced from the company’s own farms, while the rest will be purchased from other suppliers in the Siberian region.
By Tatyana IGNATENKO