Rights: University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved. Published 3 May 2012 Download

Meyer Gouda Cheese makes Gouda cheese using traditional methods. Here, General Manager Miel Meyer explains how new technologies have helped them make cheese more efficiently and why retaining traditional methods is important to the company, the brand and the customers.

Teaching points:

  • Discuss why small companies making specialist or artisan-style cheeses continue to use traditional methods when more automated processes are available.
  • Discuss societal factors driving increasing consumer interest in traditional style cheese production.
  • Miel Meyer (Meyer Gouda Cheese
    With technology, there are a few processes that do change, such as some of the machinery we use, but the actual traditional style of making the cheese hasn’t, so the end product hasn’t changed, but the way we get to the end product has. So, for example, using a hoist to lift up the brine racks. Traditionally, we’d just have big huge bath and put the cheeses in there and they’d free float. Now, we’ve got a nice racking system to do that.

    The big development for us I think has been the data-capture technology especially in relation to pasteurisation, which is the key step in making sure the cheese is safe. Traditionally, we used a pen and paperback type system to record the temperature of the milk at any given time. Now, it’s all digitally monitored and recorded, so offloaded onto a computer rather than a pen and paper and we file a piece of paper.

    The automation helps with the efficiency of running the plant, but again it doesn’t take away from the traditional aspect of actually making cheese which is really important to us and the brand. Quality is paramount. If you’ve got a good-quality cheese, it’s going to sell itself, and we’ve seen that over the years. With the changes, again, quality needs to be taken into account. So we could get an automatic pressing system. Is that going to be doing the right job? Is it going to change the quality of the end product? Those are the questions that we generally ask ourselves.