Lactos, Australia's leading specialty cheese manufacturer, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In August 1955, Lactos founder, Milan Vyhnalek, a Czechoslovakian migrant, made the company's first cheese, a soft mould ripened type called Romadur.
Nestled in the northwest corner of Tasmania, amongst some of the finest dairy country in the world is the small town of Burnie - the home of Lactos since the company began operation. Tasmania's unpolluted environment and stable, temperate climate continue to lend to the production of the finest quality dairy products.
Lactos' 50-year history of world-class expertise, superior quality milk, cutting-edge technology, pride, innovation and commitment has helped it emerge as a leading producer of the finest specialty cheese in Australia.
Lactos brands are some of the best-known and award-winning names in cheese, including Tasmanian Heritage, Tasmanian Heritage Signature, Heidi Farm, Mersey Valley and Australian Gold. The company supplies an extensive range of high quality products such as Camembert, Brie, Blue, Cream Cheese, Swiss, Edam and Gouda throughout Australia and increasingly overseas.
Over the years, the company has won many awards for its products and is the reigning Grand Champion of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards (AGDA) for its Heidi Farm range. The company's Tasmanian Heritage Signature Brie is the 2005 AGDA champion in the White Mould class; Tasmanian Heritage Red Square is the 2005 champion in the Washed Rind category along with the company's Heidi Gruyere, which received 2005 championship status as well in the Semi-Hard and Eye Cheese category.
In 1981, Lactos became an autonomous subsidiary of Bongrain SA, one of the largest specialty cheese businesses in the world. This partnership has been extremely successful, augmenting an already strong culture of cheese making with the benefits of technology transfer of world-class specialist cheese making techniques to Australia.
Lactos entered the new Millennium as Australia's finest specialty cheese maker. The company now employs around 400 people and is a major contributor to the Tasmanian economy, both directly and indirectly and it remains firmly anchored to its original site but also has its administrative base and a 'cut and wrap' operation in Melbourne.
"Lactos has had the opportunity to start from very solid foundations that 50 years of existence and the hard work from previous (and often still current) employees, suppliers and their key stakeholders have built. The same ingredients by which our company was founded on will allow us to succeed in the future," says Michel Duleu-Burre, Managing Director of Lactos. "Now, our ambition is to become a key actor in specialty cheese in the Asia/Pacfic Region."