Olomouc - It is one of the largest investment projects in the last years. Italian-owned Czech-based cheese producer Orrero plans to significantly boost the capacity of its factory in Litovel, Olomouc region. Orrero is already the world's largest producer of a hard cheese that tastes like Parmigiano. After the reconstruction of the factory, Orrero's position on the market will be even more secure.
Orrero has already provided Czech authorities with the details of their plan, so that they can evaluate its effect on environment. The company wants to significantly increase the production of all types of cheese which are exported predominantly to Italy.
Milk from Olomouc
Currently, the factory processes 240,000 liters of milk every day. After the capacity boost, the figure will rise to 440,000 liters. In one year, the facility will process 160 million liters of milk.
Orrero wants to get its milk from local producers. "The reason of increasing the current operation of the cheese producing facility is the investor's intention to reach the maximum processing capacity and use the quality products of the dairy industry in the surroundings of the factory," the company explained in its notice to the authorities.
The majority of the production is exported to the Italian market. Every day, a truck fully loaded with cheese departs from Litovel to Italy. About 5 percent of the production is consumed in the Czech Republic, for example its products Gran Moravia (a Czech parmigiano) or Verena and Provolone cheeses.
Orrero, whose majority is owned by the Italian Brazzele family, recorded CZK 700 mil (EUR 28 mil) in sales in 2009 and managed to stay in the black. However, it went through some very hard times due to the bank panic. "We survived in spite of banks. They behave even in a hostile manner," said head of the board of directors Augustin Gec to MF Dnes, a Czech daily.
In 2009, diary products consumption in the Czech Republic increased by 7 kilograms, to 250 kilograms per capita. This is the estimate of the Czech and Moravian Union of Diary Producers.
However, the output of Czech diary producers decreased last year, as the growing Czech demand was satisfied by products imported from abroad.
Read more: Czechs fight the Netherlands over Edam
In average, every inhabitant of the Czech Republic consumed 16.7 kilograms of cheese and curd 2007, which means that Czechs are getting close to the European average. The largest per capita consumption of cheese is in Greece - more than 30 kilograms of cheese in a year. The French and Germans are among Europe's greatest cheese-eaters too.
Czech diary producers are losing ground to their foreign competitors. Increasing amount of cheese sold in the Czech Republic is produced abroad - it already constitutes more than 40 percent. Above all Edam, the Czech Republic's most popular cheese, is mostly imported. Last year, 24,000 tons of Edam were imported to the Czech Republic, above all from Germany and Poland. The reason is simple - German and Polish cheese is cheaper.