The big cheese of the cheese industry

Barber’s, based in Somerset, is one of the world’s largest cheese producers. After a tripling of both its turnover and output in the last two decades, the company is looking to tech to help it advance even further.

Barber’s now uses data analytics and processing to help check for consistency in milk and cheese which, in turn, allows for a higher quality of product. Further to this, investment in the automation of processes within the factory has lead to an exponential growth in both efficiency and innovation.

Perhaps Barber’s greatest achievement, however, is its implementation of a circular economy at every part of the manufacturing process.

Excess butterfat from the cheese solution is used in the production of farm house butter. Excess liquid from this then goes on to be filtered once again, this time for its leftover whey protein, which is then used to make infant formula solutions that are exported to South East Asia and Australia. Lactose left over from the production process is either turned into Vodka (yes, really – see ‘Black Cow Vodka’), or is sent to be used in anaerobic production plants to produce energy. The remaining water is then purified and used to clean the machinery, often coming out cleaner than the river it ends up in – so actually improving the quality of the natural water.

Manufacturing companies should certainly be looking to employ similar circular economy tactics wherever possible within their practices – not just to improve efficiencies and revenue – but also to reduce waste and help clean up the environment that is so often left wounded by manufacturing processes.

the business continually invests in technology that will improve the quality of the products, advance efficiency, and allow the cheesemaker to be innovative

By Rebecca Garland on 18/04/2019