Schreiber Foods

Yogurt cups travel along a production line in this 2011 file photo from Schreiber Foods in Logan.

Yogurt is becoming the “cash cow” of the dairy industry with an expected annual revenue reaching $106.6 billion by 2024, according to a 2018 Mordor Intelligence report. Schreiber Foods, a company that’s been making dairy products since 1945, plans to complete an expansion to its Logan plant to match this trend by spring 2020.

“We’re continuing to grow and we just need more room to be able to do that,” said Andrew Tobisch, Schreiber’s director of communications and company affairs. “This will be a build-out that houses a yogurt expansion project that also does milk receiving. … Because yogurt is our newest product, we’ve been trying to grow it, and that’s what we’ve been really focused on both in the United State and outside the United States.”

Tobisch said that about 500 of its 8,000 “partners” are currently employed at the Logan plant and anticipates the expansion will create 60 new openings. Tobisch explained that employees are called “partners” because Schreiber has remained an Employee Stock Ownership Plan company, where complete ownership remains with the employees who receive stock as part of their retirement benefits.

A 2018 Forbes report stated that Schreiber was No. 184 on America’s largest private companies list and had an annual revenue of $5.6 billion. This year Forbes ranked Schreiber No. 74 for “Best Employer by State.” Among its prestigious clients, Schreiber gained the McDonald’s account in the 1970s and recently partnered with Weight Watchers to create a line of low-fat cheeses.

The Schreiber Food’s original plant was built in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and began by only producing processed cheese products. Since then, Schreiber has built plants across the U.S. in Missouri, Utah, Arizona, Texas, California and Pennsylvania. Schreibers expanded globally in 1992 when they opened plants in Mexico and Germany and now has additional plants in Portugal, Spain, Austria, France, Belgium, Czech Republic Bulgaria and India.

Schreiber added natural cheese and cream cheese to its product line in the late ‘90s and entered yogurt production in 2005. According to Schreiber’s website, it has become one of the world’s largest yogurt makers.

Schreiber’s Logan plant was built in 1972 and now produces all four of Schreiber’s products and acts as a distribution center. Schreiber’s Smithfield plant was built in 1996 and focuses mainly on natural cheese production.

When asked why Schreiber’s decided to locate in Cache Valley, Tobisch said, “At the time we built the Logan facility, we really needed a processing and distribution presence in the West … and though I don’t know the exact reasons why Logan was chosen, I’m sure it also had to to with being in a region that has a good dairy supply.”

Tobisch said that partner safety is one of Schreiber’s priorities. In 1999, the Logan plant set a dairy industry record for the number of consecutive hours worked without a lost-time incident — more than 8.5 years. Tobisch stated that Schreiber’s LTI rate is one third of the industry’s average.

Tobisch also said that food safety is also a high priority for Schreiber. In fact, through a contamination incident that nearly bankrupted the company in 1965, Schreiber helped develop one of the first ways to test for the enterotoxin produced by coagulase-positive staphylococcus that was found in some of the cheese.

As stated in Schreiber’s history “16 Ounces to the Pound,” when illness reports began being traced back to cheese put out by Schreiber, a court order prevented the company from selling the remaining 4 million pounds in stock “unless and until such cheese is tested to assure it does not contain enterotoxin produced by coagulase-positive staphylococcus.” No test for the toxin existed at the time.

Schreiber leaders, working with biologists and microbiologists at the FDA and CDC, helped create a reliable test that eventually proved that “very little of the 4 million pounds of cheese was actually contaminated,” saving the company and allowing it to continue thriving 55 years later.