HOCHDORF produces infant formula and various milk derivatives, especially for the chocolate industry. One of the reasons our products are so popular: they are made from the best Swiss milk at the highest quality. What is the secret of the quality of Swiss milk? It lies with our domestic farmers who provide excellent care for approximately 575,000 dairy cows. With an average of 25 – 30 cows, their farmsteads are comparatively small and the cows live in a stable environment. They spend a lot of time outside in the fresh air and receive clean water in addition to the farm’s own nutritious food. All this influences the good health of our Swiss dairy cows and allows them to produce high-quality milk.
Swiss legislation also shares responsibility for animal welfare – Swiss farmers are subject to some of the strictest animal welfare laws in the world and many also join voluntary label programmes that go beyond the legal requirements.
The cows are milked twice each day. The milk flows straight from the milking machine into the milk tank, where it is cooled to 3 – 4 °C. The milk producer cleans the plant after every milking procedure. A tanker collects the milk straight from the farm every two days. Before filling the tanker, the driver checks the aroma and appearance of the milk. In the tanker, a quality and reference sample is then automatically taken from each collection. The time frame from milking the cow to the first processing step is a maximum of 48 hours. The short transport routes to our processing plants are another benefit and guarantee of freshness.
There has been a close cooperation between HOCHDORF and its milk producers for 125 years. As the third-largest milk processor in Switzerland, HOCHDORF is an important buyer for the milk producers.
Dozens of tankers deliver their precious loads to our milk collection points on a daily basis. It is important that the cold chain is never interrupted. We take an input sample from each delivery and carry out a sensory check on how it smells and looks. There is also a quick test for inhibitors (antibiotics ) and a temperature check. If there are no issues with the raw materials then the milk or whey is unloaded into the interim storage facilities. Both raw materials are processed further on the same day. The strict requirements and controls guarantee that only the best quality milk is processed.
Milk producer organisations
The Swiss dairy market is a constantly changing entity. While the majority of negotiations were conducted directly with dairy farmers in the past, various milk producer organisations share this task today. As the link between the producers and processors, they deal with all aspects of milk trade, buy the milk from the farmers, organise all the logistics and sell the milk to the processors.
Today, HOCHDORF works with the most diverse milk producer organisations – a change from more than 100 years ago, when farmers brought their milk to HOCHDORF by horse-drawn carriage.
A HOCHDORF employee on his family farm. (Photography: Brigitt Willimann)