The Uelzena Group continues on its sustainable path in 2022

The Uelzena Group reports good business performance in 2022, an outcome that was not a foregone conclusion at the start of the business year. The considerable challenges in the procurement market continued at the start of the year and were further exacerbated following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. There was also concern about a potential shortage in gas supply for our production sites. Despite these challenging framework conditions, the group has performed well – including a pleasing milk payout for the raw milk generated by our dairy farmers.

Successfully negotiated challenges

The company’s key performance indicators show healthy progress. For example, the Uelzena Group recorded a revenue of over one billion euros for the first time in the company’s history, due in particular to the sharp pricing rise on the supply side by the end of the reporting year. Group earnings were €7.6 million. There were 832 employees in the group on the reporting date of 31 December 2022, 55 of these had training contracts.

Satisfactory milk payout

In 2022, approximately 827 million kg of raw ingredients was delivered, which equates to an increase of five percent over the previous year. The milk payout price of Uelzena eG was significantly above that of the previous year with an average payout of 53.82 euro cents. This was an increase in the payout of more than 18 cents. Uelzena could thereby honour its strategic approach to pay its members a competitive milk payout. The good revenue situation was dampened by rising costs for the agricultural businesses as the purchase price for feed and fertiliser rose sharply, as did the cost of diesel and wages. 

Expansion of capacities

Site expansion and modernisation in Uelzen forged ahead with the completion of the spray-drying plant at the end of 2022. The connection to the steam and water supply from the existing plant was achieved by using a supply bridge. Commissioning of the new production plant took place this year with the first production test runs. The integration of logistics with the high-bay warehouse via a new conveyor belt, and automatic palletisation of the finished goods using robotics, topped off the state-of-the-art facility. 

The foundation was also laid for the expansion of the Altmark cheese dairy in Bismark. So much progress has been made with the necessary preliminary work and planning in 2022, and the present year, that the start of implementation is getting closer. The associated capacity expansion helps to safeguard the future of the site and gives dairy farmers guaranteed sales of the raw milk they produce within the region. The investments and modernisations in plant and building technology to reduce emissions at all sites will continue to be made to keep production sustainable and add value. One example of this is the focus on pre-treating wastewater and the associated reduction in wastewater load, which will lead to reduced costs in the next few years as a result of lower discharge.

The past year has shown that a just-in-time procurement market can virtually turn overnight into supply shortages for our company group. It’s been a challenging time and I’m grateful that together, we found a solution for all our sites."

Stefan Andreas Lerke, Managing Director Production a. Technologie, Uelzena eG

Outlook for 2023

The milk payout of the past business year cannot be maintained due to the declining price level. The continually increasing raw milk volumes has led to pressure on the supply side and the reduction in revenue was tangible. Some easing is expected in the second half of the year. The start of regular operation of the spray-drying plant in Uelzen and launching the active implementation phase of the Altmark cheese dairy expansion will be challenging for our company. 

Further projects are planned at all company sites which will help to continue the positive development in the future and ensure our strategic corporate objectives. Major objectives remain a competitive milk payout, sustainable profit generation and the independence of the company group.

 Context: Why the Uelzena Group needs a sustainable corporate strategy

The Uelzena Group is a dairy that faces one key challenge, namely the heavily fluctuating prices for its main products of milk powder, butter and cheese on national and international markets. The Group is responding to this challenge with a strategy of diversification and differentiation. The primary objective is to compensate for fluctuations in milk prices and to provide farmers with a competitive milk payout.

A lot depends on the business success of the Uelzena Group; the milk payout for the members as well as the employee wages, capital expenditure and taxes. It is therefore the company’s responsibility to maintain and expand corporate performance in the long run and to continuously invest into its future viability.

The Uelzena Group is a medium-sized cooperative enterprise with around 790 employees and consolidated sales of 766 million euros, processing almost 788 million kilograms of liquid dairy raw materials, 699 million kilograms of which is raw milk, at four production sites in northern Germany. The business purpose of Uelzena Group is the support of its member cooperatives and their milk producers. See also: Company profile

 Our management approach: Company

The main focus in the action field ‘company’ is economic performance. Systematic planning and hard work are the foundations for the business success of the Uelzena Group. In its efforts, the Group is supported by various management systems and processes such as strategic multi-year planning, risk management, compliance and management by targets.

Corporate management defines long-term goals, plans implementation measures and monitors their effectiveness. Norms and standards are constantly further developed and require adaptation in corporate management.


Our sustainable corporate strategy – overview on targets and measures

Corporate objectives

  • The Uelzena Group aims at generating a competitive milk payout for its members and guaranteeing reliable purchases
  • The goal is not short-term profits, but rather continual good corporate results
  • The independence of the Group must be maintained in the long term

Reliable and guaranteed sales

The Uelzena Group is committed to its members to reliably buy all of their milk. The company fulfils this obligation every year, again and again to 100 percent. This is achieved by ensuring that processing capacities and sales opportunities – i.e. access to customers - are always in line with the amount of raw milk delivered by the members. A medium-term strategy and investment plan (multi-year investment plan) was developed for the entire Uelzena Group that involved all business divisions, sites and executives. The plan includes the further development and modernisation of the corporate sites and the individual lines of business.

Balanced use of financial resources

Economic performance is expressed as the ability to generate appropriate revenues on the markets and to act cost-consciously. The generated revenues make it possible to pay the member companies and their milk producers a competitive milk price (operational costs) while at the same time strengthening equity with the surplus. It is important to have a sufficient amount of our own capital, otherwise the Uelzena Group, with growing capital requirements would have to rely disproportionately on external financing, for example, for investments. Added to that, the equity also acts as a buffer in difficult market situations.


The Uelzena Group uses diversification to create several earning pillars that allow it to generate appropriate results. This enables the Group to better counterbalance unfavourable developments in market prices or sales in individual business or product fields. In total, it decreases the economic risk for the company and its member enterprises.


When it comes to products and services, the Uelzena Group is a strong partner to its customers.  The Group reliably takes care of the requirements from demanding customers and market segments. This creates added value for the customers and a basis for, very often, many years of partnership – this makes a significant difference in a competitive environment.

Strategy and management systems

The Uelzena Group has implemented various management systems in order to ensure proper management and control of the company. There are clearly defined work instructions, procedures, responsibilities and process descriptions in place:

  • Strategy and sustainability process
  • Systematic risk and crisis management
  • Quality management based on ISO9001 and a continuous improvement process
  • Energy management based on ISO 50001
  • A team responsible for occupational safety that reviews accidents and implements improvement measures
  • Reviews of IT systems in terms of data protection and privacy issues
  • Compliance officer who receives and checks information on violations of the Code of Conduct and, if necessary, initiates measures

What do you think about our sustainability reporting 2022?

Please answer the following five short questions to let us know your opinions.

Click here to take the survey