Founded in 1919, Cabot Creamery Co-operative is rapidly approaching a century in the dairy industry. From its humble roots as an arrangement between 94 northeast farmers who came together to pool excess product and market to Boston and New York City, the co-op has grown to become one of the nation’s most iconic dairy providers.
Cabot now spans 1,100 farms, spread across New England and Upstate New York, and four creameries to process product lines including award-winning varieties of sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, butter, milk powders, and cheeses including jack, muenster, and the company’s iconic cheddar.
“Cabot is focused on mirroring the values of our farmers and much of our marketing is focused on trying to brighten the communities where our products are sold,” says Nate Formalarie, Brand Communication Manager. “These are family farms, oftentimes generations old, that would struggle to survive without a steady place to send their milk. By coming together and pooling their resources they are able to do something they could not do alone. The nature of a cooperative business is to support and achieve something as a team. The mission of our cooperative is largely the same it was when it formed almost 100 years ago. Provide a profitable home for our members' milk.”
While Cabot’s operation and reputation have grown by leaps and bounds throughout its history, the company remains committed to the same values and vision that informed the cooperative’s beginnings. Cabot’s employees and family farms work hard to both provide the best quality product and nurture their communities.
“We honor volunteerism whenever we can through our Department of Gratitude,” an initiative that thanks volunteers for the work they are doing in local communities, Nate explains. “These programs reward volunteers who log their time or serve them free grilled cheese to show the farmers’ gratitude for their hard work. It’s a cool example of cooperative business principals and a unique way of connecting people not only with our brand, but with the community-building nature of our farmers.”
This exceptional respect for farm families’ local communities doesn’t exist in isolation, though, Nate tells me; Cabot is also committed to sustainability and to protecting the environment on a larger scale, as well.
“We have pretty strong commitment to sustainability–just winning the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence [in Vermont]. It’s a big part of how we look to the future and ensure we are being responsible with our footprint,” says Nate, noting that in 2012 Cabot achieved a milestone in responsible business practices. “We were the first dairy cooperative in the world to achieve B Corp certification which has been a great opportunity for us to tell our story and partner with like-minded businesses.”
And Nate tells me that the company is continuing to innovate with products like Cabot’s Cracker Cut Cheese Slices—convenient grab-and-go packages of pre-cut cheese slices ideal for snacking—expanding into a number of markets.
Deli Market News will continue to report with more on all things dairy, deli, and bakery.