Ingredient Focus: Dairy

The regional dairy industry's challenges and changing demands from consumers
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Agriform set to export halal cheese

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Founded in 1980, Agriform is a co-operative of dairies producing, ageing and exporting Grana Padano PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese all over the world. The Agriform range also includes cheese made from animal rennet for Muslim consumers.

Agriform’s best-selling product is Grana Padano PDO cheese, representing approximately 60% of its total production.  In 2017 the company will begin exporting to the UAE with around 40 tonnes of cheese using halal rennet.

The company’s ongoing passion for excellence and their focus on quality have led to the development of other typical Venetian PDO cheeses like Asiago and Piave.

The company now produces and exports to the Emirates a special, niche hard cheese, Piave Vecchio Oro del Tempo, one of the latest Italian PDO cheeses. The cheese has become an award-winner, racking up a series of industry wins.

Products

Soft Serve

La Marquise and MEC3 have introduced Soft Gelato in sky blue and in pure black colours to the market.

Soft Serve gelato by MEC3 is made of carefully sourced raw materials not only to have consistent quality but also price.

La Marquise and MEC3 have launched new flavours in the Gelato Soft International line.

These mixes for preparing soft gelato are already dosed and balanced for obtaining an excellent product, reducing the preparation time and maintaining maximum quality. The mix simply needs to be combined with water and loaded to soft gelato machine.

Vitamin D Milk

Innovation is at the core of Al Rawabi Dairy Company’s policy. All of its products have been developed to address the health issues of the GCC region, particularly the overall presence of Vitamin D deficiency.

As majority of the UAE population suffers from Vitamin D deficiency, Al Rawabi has introduced Vitamin D milk — a special functional milk, enriched with 2000 iu of Vitamin D3 in one cup of 250 ml, recommended for daily intake for preventing the deficiency.

Currently, it is the only product of its kind in the GCC.  The product is available in full fat and low-fat option, and comes in package sizes of 250ml, one litre and two litres.

High Stability Dairy Cream

Lakeland Dairies has recently released the newest member of itsMillac branded product range, Millac High Stability Dairy Cream.

Millac High Stability is incredibly versatile, lending itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. Whether you are making high-end cakes or a creamy pasta sauce, the rich dairy flavour and full mouthfeel make for exceptionally tasty dishes.

Capacity

In an industry where companies are experiencing slow growth,  Al Rawabi Dairy Company grew by double digits in 2016 compared to the single digit industry average.

This achievement is the result of strategic thinking, phased investments over the years and innovation. The company invested AED 125 million (US $34.2 million) to expand farm facilities and dairy cattle in 2013, and another AED 22 million (US $6 million) in 2014 in new third generation filling and pasteurisation lines.

“The last few years have seen Al Rawabi grow steadily to become the largest dairy manufacturer in the UAE and across the region with production levels of 250, 000 litres of fresh milk daily. With the dairy market growing at a steadfast speed, we aim to enter new markets as the distribution channels develop and barriers to distribution continue to come down,” said Al Rawabi general manager Dr. Ahmed El Tigani.

Welfare

The dairy industry is under incresing pressure to clean up its act when it comes t animal welfare. At Al Rawabi Dairy Company, cow’s welfare has remained a priority. Cows benefit from innovative cooling and showering systems to tackle the UAE heat.

Each cow is identified via an electronic ear tag controlled by a computerised system, and benefits from a customised feeding sheet (TMR) to ensure that they are being properly nourished. Ecologically, Al Rawabi has implemented water recycling to minimise its environmental footprint, reusing the water for cooling the herd and land irrigation purposes.

Speaking about the company’s welfare pratices, El Tigani said: “On the occasion of our 28th anniversary, Al Rawabi is very proud of creating a facility that matches the highest standards of the most sophisticated dairies in Europe in terms of production, cow welfare and also environmental consideration. All the water at our facilities is recycled and our cows are completely antibiotic-free. Antibiotics are only given to cows for medical treatments, and those cows undergoing treatment for any reason are removed from the milk production cycle for the duration.”

Quality

The Middle East region is largely reliant on imports of fresh produce and dairy products are no exception. Despite the fact that local dairy companies exisit, their European counterparts are more readily associated with quality.

Al Rawabi’s renewed focus on its product offerings, geared towards regional needs  and demands, is helping the dairy company to be perceived as a local company with products that are on par with dairy imports coming in from European countries such as France.

Top trends

Stability

Developed with the support of the Lakeland Dairies Technical Chef team, Millac High Stability Dairy Cream has been created to meet the increased requirements placed on chefs. The enhanced stability allows for a longer shelf life, the higher whipping yield helps reduce portion cost and the improved consistency means you can expect a quality product from every pack.

Awareness

According to Agriform export manager, Chiara Giussani, another trend in the regional dairy market is related to growing consumer awareness of the quality and safety of products with special attention to animal welfare on farms. In light of this, Agriform members are carrying out the “Sustainability Project”.

Organic

Consumers now expect to see certain labels and, increasingly, organic is one of them. Since 2016, Agriform has been producing organic Asiago and organic Parmigiano Reggiano. In 2018 a greater organic range will be available with Grana Padano and other PDO cheeses in the near future.

The organic logo guarantees that the cheese is produced according to strict rules aimed at respecting the environment and animal welfare. An annual inspection of the producer takes place once a year by control bodies or control authorities to ensure they are respect all organic rules and all health and consumer protection rules.

Farm animals should be freely grazing in the open air and should be treated according to enhanced animal welfare conditions. As for food, there are strict limitations on the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers or antibiotics.

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