For more than 130 years, our aim has been simple: to make delicious cheeses. And our method is simple too. First, the milk has to be the best quality, taken from cows that live healthy lives on our own farms.
The rest is all about craftmanship. As a small cooperative dairy, we work closely to make high quality cheeses that stand among the very best.
Them Andelsmejeri is based around a close local community with strong roots and a history that goes all the way back to 1888. We share our belief in the value of traditional craftsmanship and dedication at every step, from our work with the animals to the point when the cheeses are delivered to you.
We take pride in our traditions, and we respect good craftsmanship – that’s how we ensure that every bite tastes the way a delicious cheese should.
Good cheese comes from good milk and from animals that thrive. That’s why the vast majority of the milk we use to make our cheeses comes from our own farms in the highlands of Jutland. Here, we take good care of our animals, and we take the quality of our milk very seriously.
By controlling every drop of milk ourselves, we can measure it according to the parameters that have an impact on the quality of the cheese.
The most important ingredient in the cheeses from Them Andelsmejeri is the pure quality milk from our own farms. Next, we add our own unique cheese culture to the milk, to achieve just the right taste and character that we are looking for – something we know our customers highly appreciate. We specialise in keeping our own lactic acid strains pure, clean and maintaining them for a longer period of time, so that we can propagate the laboratory-produced lactic acid strains with our own.
First, this means we achieve a more consistent quality, while at the same time the maturation process is enhanced and easier to manage. Although cheeses contain living organisms and develop differently, we always strive to give ours a unique taste and character – a taste that is recognisable with every bite, year after year. To make this possible, we take very good care of our own cheese culture.
Every week, Them Andelsmejeri’s dairymen meet with our master cheesemaker to taste the cheeses and check their development and maturation. Every cheese contains living organisms, and each develops differently depending on time, temperature and the variable nature of raw products. For example, the taste and fat composition of organic milk changes depending on the time of year and the cow’s diet.
Of course, this influences the taste of our cheeses, and so our master cheesemaker keeps a constant lookout for when the taste is just right. This is why we never say how many weeks our Danbo cheeses are matured – but only whether the cheese is mild, medium matured, matured, X matured, XX matured or XXX matured. Because for us, the taste is what counts more than anything else.
Quality packaging ensures that our cheeses have a long shelf life, which in turn helps to reduce food waste. To make this possible, plastic packaging is still the most suitable option, but we are working on finding an alternative. In the meantime, by using thinner foils we have managed to reduce our plastic consumption by 16%. Excess cream and whey are sold for further processing, and by having the water filtered from the whey before transportation, we’ve been able to save four out of five journeys per week.
Our Premium cheeses are packed in boxes that are Cradle to Cradle Certified®, the world’s strictest environmental certification, guaranteeing that the boxes’ production does no harm to the climate, the environment, or to people. For example, the paper is sustainable and 100% biodegradable, and the power consumption used in production comes exclusively from wind energy.
Our dairy is certified according to the IFS quality standard for food safety. We constantly test the quality of our milk and the ingredients we use at every step of its journey – from when we collect the milk from our farmers, to when the milk is weighed, through to the cheese tank, the storage facility and during the cutting and packing process.
In this way, we know that every single cheese can be traced back to its origin, ensuring the best possible quality and safety standards.
As part of our quality management system, we practice environmental management according to ISO 14001. As a result, we work systematically to reduce the consumption of water and energy, and to reduce CO2 emissions.
We also utilise all the leftover products from our cheesemaking process. The cream is sold to other dairies for butter production and the whey is used for various protein products.
Them Cooperative Dairy is firmly rooted in our local area. We are a group of closely-knit farmers and workers who really do cooperate, and when someone has a new idea, we work together to make it happen.
Sending quality products out into the world is what makes us proud, and although our dairy is small and local, we’re still able to reach customers globally.
Them Cooperative Dairy is one of the oldest cooperative dairies in the world, and it’s one of the few independent dairies still in existence in Denmark. Our history goes all the way back to 1888, when 47 farmers decided to start their own dairy together. Since then, the dairy has grown in size while the agriculture has developed towards fewer and larger farms. Today, there are 13 cooperative farmers, six of whom are organic farmers. More about our history:
The first dairy is founded by 47 members with a loan of 260 Danish kroner and a deposit of half a Danish kroner per cow – a total of 135 cows. The farmers mainly produce butter and milk, and the first chairman is J.K. Jensen, who also works as a schoolteacher.
2600 Danish kroner is invested in building a new dairy in Them. More farmers join the dairy, and more than 2 million litres of milk are weighed-in annually. Butter and milk are still the most important types of products, but small quantities of cheese are now being put into production.
A new dairy is built – this time in the town of Them, where the dairy is still located to this day. The investment of 1,000,000 kroner includes a better water supply, which enables cheese production on a larger scale. However, milk and cream for export, together with butter, still remain the most important products.
Funder Dairy, which includes 80 farmers with a total of 2 million litres of milk, joins Them Andelsmejeri. Shortly afterwards, the farmers from Katrinedal with 2.5 million litres of milk are also admitted. This creates growth and new opportunities – a new era for the dairy has begun.
More and more farmers from other merged dairies join Them Andelsmejeri, including Ry, Låsby, Nørre Snede, Alderslyst, Silkeborg and Gludsted-Ejstrupholm. Cheese now becomes the primary product, and among other things, investments are made in milk trucks and a new tunnel facility. In 1979, the production of milk for sale to the public is terminated.
A fully automated cheese press plant is installed, at the time the most advanced in the country. The following year, butter production stops on a larger scale. However, a small amount of butter is still produced for local sale – and remains so to this day.
Them Andelsmejeri weighs-in 20 million litres of milk, triple that of 25 yearspreviously. Production is concentrated on several well known Danbo cheeses, such as Fætter Kras. The newly established wholesale company Them Ost – Werner Ost provides nationwide supply.
The Crystal Cheese is launched and becomes the starting point for a number of new special hard cheeses – an addition to the current range of Danbo cheeses.
Them’s organic cheeses are certified by Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Denmark’s largest and oldest animal welfare organisation). The export company Dairy 1888 is founded in order to accommodate the demand for milk powder and cheese from Asia, primarily China. The milk powder is manufactured by the two brands, Them 1888 and Sommerbjerg (the latter is the name of one of our organic farms).
Torben Aarris is named CEO of Them Andelsmejeri and a new era begins.
Them’s Danbo cheeses are awarded the BGM (Protected Geographical Indication) label by the EU, and Them Andelsmejeri and Dairy 1888 the first dairy in the world to receive a certificate to sell organic cheeses to China.
The number of farmers goes from 26 to 13 – a decision made to ensure that the dairy holds a strong position for future growth and development. The reduction of farmers makes Them Andelsmejeri more flexible and market oriented. A mutually beneficial agreement ensures a calm and gradual farewell to the farmers who do not continue as members.
The dairy also invests in an RO plant for the purpose of reverse osmosis. The plant filters the water from the whey and concentrates the most valuable compounds of the milk, reducing the volume of the whey. More specifically, this means the number of weekly trips by truck can be reduced from five to one. This benefits both the climate and the residents of the area.
2020 – Present
Them Andelsmejeri relaunches its entire cheese range, introducing a new packaging design and new names. The aim is to ensure that more consumers become familiar with our high-quality cheeses. Dairy 1888 begins to export organic infant formula to China, and within two years a larger range of related products will be introduced.