Upland updates with new plant

Upland dairy in Germany is investing around €20 million in a new, ultra-modern production building in Usseln, which is due to open this autumn. With the new building, the dairy can increase its capacity from the current 40 million kilograms of organic milk per year to 60 million kilograms, because the organic market is booming and the Upland waiting list for milk suppliers is long.

“The demand for organic milk products is increasing and consumers are becoming more aware of regional and environmentally friendly foods,” says managing director Karin Artzt-Steinbrink.

The new location doubles the production area to 3,300 square metres. There will also be enough space for the trucks to maneuver over an area of 5,000 square metres.

In the course of planning the new building, the dairy put its packaging to the test. It commissioned Fraunhofer Umsicht with a life cycle assessment study: What is more sustainable: composite beverage cartons, plastic stand-up pouches or reusable glass bottles? The researchers took into account the production, transport and disposal of the various packaging options.

“We are very pleased that our study helped us decide on a sustainable investment. Our work is intended to support companies in improving their ecological balance sheet and becoming more sustainable,” says Anna Schulte, Sustainability and Participation Department at Fraunhofer Umsicht.

“We didn’t just want to react to a current trend. We wanted to find an ecologically sensible solution for our dairy. In order to obtain a basis for decision-making, we therefore decided on an individual packaging study,” explains Artzt-Steinbrink.

According to the study, glass becomes more advantageous for the dairy in comparison to composite milk cartons, if the number in circulation increases to up to 20. The higher the returns and the shorter the distances, the more sustainable the glass variant is in comparison.

The study also shows that the ecological balance of the bottle will improve even further in the next few years, as it will increasingly be transported with more environmentally friendly trucks.

After evaluating the study, the shareholders of the dairy decided to invest in a new packaging line for reusable glass in addition to the line for composite cardboard. The brown glass bottles are to be offered primarily in the region in the future.

“Since reusable glass can be used many times over and is also very easy to recycle, we are reducing the amount of waste and supporting the circular economy. We continue to rely on our cardboard packaging for deliveries to regions further away,” Artzt-Steinbrink notres.

In the new production facility, yogurt is to be produced for the first time and offered in 500g reusable jars. The former production site in the town center will produce only sour milk quark in the future. The milk museum, the organic shop and the administration will also remain at the historic site of the former mountain dairy, which was founded in 1898.

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