Erfurt’s Evolution

The plant in Erfurt has been churning out high-quality dairy products for decades and soon, vegan products will also be rolling off the production line. Project manager Nina Rempe spells out how, and why this matters so much.

Plant-based alternatives are now becoming standard – is DMK switching completely to vegan products?


No, processing the milk provided by our farmers’ cows is and remains DMK’s core business. We live and love our raw material, because no other food can deliver such variety and so many nutrients as part of a healthy, balanced diet. But we can see that younger consumers in particular are becoming more and more interested in vegan products. It is not really important whether we, as a traditional dairy, welcome this trend or not, it is a fact. So we took a good long look at the market and have developed some non-dairy alternatives. DMK is not driving the rise of vegan products but is using this trend as a growth opportunity in the market.


What vegan products do you make in Erfurt?

We have developed a rice dessert, a chocolate pudding and a vanilla pudding. The advantage at our location is that on the one hand, we have milk production experts here, while on the other hand, we do not have to change our production line completely. The rice dessert now contains coconut fat instead of milk and the puddings are based on gluten-free oats.

Do you use the same machines to make dairy products too?

Partly. We do a deep clean on all the components before switching our production, that’s what we mean when we talk about hybrid production. We want to make the best possible use of our current equipment. We are also meticulous about managing allergens.

Do goods have to be labeled accordingly?

Yes, where necessary, we clearly label raw goods and finished products “May contain traces of milk” so as to avoid any potential confusion. We also train production employees to be aware of this. And our branded products, for example, are externally certified and we feature the V-label on the packaging

In creating our products, we really benefit from our experienced staff

Nina Rempe, Projektleiterin bei DMK.

What did DMK have to do to get that certification?

We proved our products are made exclusively from vegan ingredients and that we do not use any additives derived from animals during the production process.

How do you make vegan desserts taste good?

We really focus hard on which plant-based raw materials are best suited to which product. Not all products work for all product categories. Oats are great for sweet puddings that taste a bit like cereal, but don’t work as well in spicy products. Coconut oil is ideal as a base for our desserts because it has fewer bitter notes than olive oil, so the flavor of the other ingredients develops better. In creating our products, we really benefit from our experienced staff who have spent many years working on flavor for dairy products and do a great job applying that expertise to vegan products.

What challenges did you face while developing the products?

We had to add fat when making our vegan pudding out of plant-based ingredients which the milk otherwise would have provided. And we had to make sure we got the mixture right so there weren’t any unappetizing streaks on the surface. But our research and development employees figured all that out really fast.

“Our team does a really good job: We only had to carry out two production runs to adjust to vegan production. That‘s thanks to how well the product development and production teams worked together. I was skeptical at first about whether vegan pudding would actually taste good, but the new product won me over completely.”

Marco Wandrowec, Teamleiter Werk 2

The employees had only worked on dairy products up until now – how did they handle vegan goods?

As we all work on dairy products each day, all of us were naturally a little skeptical at the start. We wondered how a vegan product would compare to our dairy products and how they match our demands, in terms of the taste and feel? Then we tried a first spoonful of the vegan dessert we produced – that was so exciting – and it was delicious! Now, everyone has their own particular favorite. Mine is chocolate pudding.

The plant has only carried out test runs so far. When will your products reach supermarket shelves?

We are about to start initial production of our first vegan goods. Our MILRAM products will reach the classic retailers in March.