After the signing by Ukraine of the Association Agreement with the European Union and the free trade agreement, great opportunities have opened up for Ukrainian producers. Now, domestic enterprises have the opportunity to export products to Europe without customs duties, taxes and quantitative restrictions. This requires a little – complying with international standards.
An important step in the development of the Ukrainian dairy industry was the decision of the European Commission at the end of 2015 to include 10 Ukrainian dairy producers in the official list of approved exporters to the EU countries.
It is no coincidence that Loostdorf was the first company in this list, which products can be found in all stores and supermarkets. Probably, every Ukrainian tasted fresh milk, cream or yoghurt of such trademarks as Selyanske, Burenka, Na Zdorovye.
An enterprise from Vinnytsia region with the 21-year work experience is considered one of the best in Ukraine. And everything began with the reconstruction of an existing Soviet-type plant. Over the years of fruitful work the enterprise has been modernized, constantly expanded and developed. Today, the company provides jobs for more than 1,500 Ukrainians.
Currently, Loostdorf keeps its course towards Europe. The company is actively working to compete with well-known European manufacturers on the foreign market.
Selection and transportation of raw milk
The main raw material for the production of dairy is cow’s milk. Loostdorf cooperates exclusively with farms. In their territory, the company installs refrigerators for the centralized collection of raw milk. Today, about 70 farms from all over Ukraine supply milk to the enterprise.
Each forwarding driver arriving at the farm conducts tests to determine the primary physical and chemical indicators of the quality of milk (standard fat content), and then enters them to the accompanying documentation.
“In case when milk does not meet the demanded indicators, it remains on the farm. If all the indicators are normal, milk is loaded into the tank and the hatch is sealed. We transport raw materials using Scania isothermal trucks. Simultaneous loading of such transport is from 15 to 30 tons,” tells the employee of the company.
After transportation, a laboratory technician takes samples from each section of the truck and sends them to the receiving laboratory, where all the physical and chemical and partly microbiological indicators of the raw material are determined using a milk analyzer. If results coincide with those received at the farm, they are entered into the electronic database, and the raw material is sent for unloading station to the reception office of the workshop.
“A fairly large number of input indicators are determined by the laboratory: it is a group of purity, a mass fraction of fat, a mass fraction of protein, dry matter, acidity, density, thermal stability by alcohol test. All indicators give us an idea of whether the milk is suitable for further processing on our equipment,” says Larysa Tsymbaliuk, Chief of Production Control Laboratory.
Over the course of the day, Loostdorf processes 450 tons of milk. After unloading, the milk is sent to the production; trucks are disinfected from the inside and are prepared for new transportation.
The most advanced production technology
Today, milk is produced in Ukraine using two technologies, in particular pasteurization and ultra-pasteurization processes. The share of pasteurized milk on the Ukrainian market is approximately 80%; the rest of the milk is made by ultra-pasteurization, but it is segment that meets the most advanced technology. That is why the milk of long-term storage (ultra-pasteurized) predominates on the European market: Spain – 93%, Germany – 70% and Italy – approximately 65%.
Loostdorf is the absolute leader in Ukraine for the production of milk of long-term storage.
There are currently two methods of ultra-pasteurization: direct and indirect heating. In the first case, the milk is processed by steam. It can be a vapour injection into milk, and vice versa – milk in a vapour. In the second case, the milk flows through the pipes and is heated through a pipe with hot water.
Steam processing is one of the most advanced technologies, and Loostdorf is the only company in Ukraine that uses such a technology.
In addition, the company was the first in Europe to successfully market the milk of Selyanske trademark in the Tetra Fino Aseptic package. It looks like milk in the film, but in reality it is a cardboard non-standing package that has made a furore on the world sales market.
Workshop for milk of long-term storage
Raw materials are processed in a sterile area detached by glass. Milk is sent to a special unit, where it is heated, separated and normalized by the content of fat (heated to 55 degrees, divided into streams of cream and milk, and mixed into the milk of a given fat content).
The normalized substance is dispersed in 11 containers, and then is to ultra high temperature processing (heated to 135 degrees). Four seconds of such a heating are enough to eliminate the entire pathogenic microflora in milk and keep the health benefits of fresh milk.
“At this workshop, we produce 51 dairy products of different volume and format. These are small cream and large two-liter milk packs of such trademarks as Burenka, Na Zdorovye, Selyanske,” said Yurii Tsinskyi, Head of the Long-Term Storage Milk Production Workshop.
After the ultra-pasteurization process, the milk is sent to the packing machines, where it is poured into consumer packages “tetra pak”, to which they stick a drinking straw, lid and attach labeling on the conveyor. Subsequently, the products are transported to the warehouse, where they are stored until the final shipment to the trading network.
Fermented milk product workshop
Compared to the previous one, this workshop is quite young – it operates only for 3 years. Kefir, sour cream, ryazhenka and yoghurts are produced here.
“They can be purchased without hesitation, given to children, patients in hospitals. We are 100% sure that they are natural and quality,” says the Head of the Marketing Department Nataliia Veremchuk.
Milk is delivered in the fermentation tank and after its laboratory control the fermentation of the product begins.
“In the work, we use dry recycled frozen fermentation starters of direct injection. I mean that we get a ready fermentation starter. We do not produce it on our own. We purchase fermentation starters in the EU states and do not purchase any Ukrainian fermentation starters,” said Liubov Polishchuk, Chief Technology Officer.
The necessary amount of fermentation starter is weighed. After that, it is put into the fermentation vessel and fermentation of the product begins.
The process of fermentation is supervised by a laboratory assistant, a microbiologist and a technologist. After completion of the process, the products are packed on the machines “tetrapack” and “milpack”. Then, they are transported to the warehouse, from where they reach a final consumer.
On a daily basis, the tasting committee assesses products made on the previous day.
Course towards Europe: connection of the company with the EU states
Loostdorf has been licensed to export to Europe recently, but products already meet all conditions to be exported abroad.
Since ultra-pasteurized milk prevails in the EU states, there are a large number of its producers, and there is a great competition. Each country has its favourite brands, its prices for raw materials. However, the Ukrainian company is actively working to compete with a foreign producer.
“We negotiate, we bring samples. Representatives from all countries that have tasted our products are committed to them. Fermented milk products are our separate type of activity. We can also sell all of its product range abroad. We are currently negotiating supplies to Germany and Poland. In addition, there are already contracts with stores for the Ukrainian diaspora. Our products accurately meet all the requirements to be shipped to Europe,” says Nataliia Veremchuk, Head of Marketing Department.
The first experience of cooperation with Europe was the supply of powdered milk to the Netherlands. And now Loostdorf exports this kind of product to Arab countries, Georgia, Kazakhstan and countries of the Far East.
The company has understood that in order to reach the level of supplies to the EU, it is necessary to involve more personnel and take more efforts. The company has increased the number of jobs, begun to analyze the market, started to bring its products to exhibitions and learn more about the countries that are its potential partners. As of today, the company’s employees are confident that in the near future Ukrainian trademarks will be able to gain a foothold on the foreign market.
“Our owner dreams of providing Europe with his milk. He often says it, and we’re glad we have room for development. Each year the plant produces novelties: last year, they were 18, this year – some other novelties are also expected. It is not that easy to pull off negotiations with the Europeans because of great competition, but now they know more about us. They have started to respect Ukraine, read about it and taste its products,” added Nataliia Veremchuk.
By Oleksandr Kostyniuk
The original article is published on Galka.if.ua