Paide dairy plant produces first cheddar cheese batch in test run

E-Piim chief Jaanus Murakas and cheese technician Marjan Tamm with the first batch of cheddar produced at the new plant.
E-Piim chief Jaanus Murakas and cheese technician Marjan Tamm with the first batch of cheddar produced at the new plant. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

The first test batch of cheddar cheese has been produced at E-Piim's new dairy plant in Paide, Järva County. The state-of-the-art dairy production facility, which is the most advanced in the Baltics, will be used to produce cheddar, gouda and whey once its full-time operations commence next spring.

On Thursday, at E-Piim's new dairy plant in Paide, work finally got underway on a new cheddar cheese production line.

"It went really well. You're always afraid of the worst, but we have a very strong team behind us, and we've done a great job. The cheese has come out and that's the main thing. Every week, we are gradually increasing the quantities," said cheese technician Marjan Tamm.

E-Piim board chair Jaanus Murakas said, that almost exactly two years after general contractor Nordecon first broke ground on the site, the cheese production factory is now more or less complete. Full cheese production capacity is expected to be reached by the end of the year.

However, far from being a one-trick pony, the plant will be used to create three separate types of product.

"What makes the plant innovative is that we have combined continental European cheese production with so-called Oceanian or English-language world cheese production in a single facility. We produce gouda cheese and cheddar cheese here," Murakas said.

"There is also a milk powder plant which will be used to process whey, a by-product of the cheese production process. We will dry it into powder and produce whey protein products," she added.

Murakas added that the production of different cheeses allows the plant to maintain flexibility, as the markets for cheddar and gouda are different. Up to 95 percent of the cheese produced in Paide is sold internationally. Products from the new plant are set to reach Estonian stores early in the new year.

While the factory had been expected to cost just over €100 million, the coronavirus pandemic, inflation and increase in the price of materials have pushed that up by almost a tenth.

E-Piim's new Paide factory will employ 107 people.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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