The Difference between ESL (Fresh Milk) and UHT (Long Life Milk)


The Difference between ESL (Fresh Milk) and UHT (Long-Life Milk)

UHT (Ultra High Temperature) Milk ESL (Extended Shelf Life) Milk
Heat Process Sterilisation: 138°C – 143°C for 4 seconds Ultra-Pasteurisation: 75°C for 15 seconds
Taste Slightly caramelised or burnt (or cooked)

taste due to the ultra-high temperature

Fresh milk taste
Appearance Faint browning may occur White
Storage Can be transported and stored in ambient

temperature, refrigerate only after


Cold chain must not be broken.

Must stay refrigerated (during

transportation, before & after opening) at


Shelf Life 6 – 9 months (or longer) 35 days

The Difference between ESL (Fresh Milk) and UHT (Long Life Milk)2019-12-09T10:01:32+00:00

Dairy Farmer (Cosamooselot)


Adele Bain – Dairy Farmer (Cosamooselot)

by Adele Bain

They say every farm is different and even more so, every farmer. So what do you do when you move to a brand new farm which you have absolutely no knowledge about? That was us, four years ago when we decided

to buy a dairy farm – having zero knowledge, but a dream of a green and sustainable farm. And so our journey began.

For the untrained eye the traditional kikuyu and clovers looked beautiful and green. Little did we know that ryegrass and chicory was what we actually needed. Seems easy enough

to fix though, right? Wrong! After tons of testing, hours of intense analysing and what seemed like a lifetime later, we were finally ready… for some more restoration. The only thing that was truly ready from the beginning – our cattle’s genetics.

Thinking back on the process there are two people who truly carried us: Craig Galloway and Anele Madlala. From the beginning Craig inspired us with his sustainability ideas and passion. While Anele’s knowledge and fast thinking was quite critical during a lot of situations.

What felt like a few seconds after we took over the farm it was already time for our first Woodlands Dairy audit. What an extremely terrifying, teeth clenching moment! But man, what

a teaching moment. Control sheets and reports were drawn up for just about everything. Today we can finally and with confidence say that we’ve graduated “milk audit school”.

On a more serious note – more specifically the notes that go into your wallet – we had our fair share of trials and challenges. One of the best investments however was definitely

our sustainability projects. Without realising it back then when we started, by investing in sustainability we were preparing a safety net for when the drought came. And boy did it come for us all. It’s safe to

say that everyone struggled with water and that a farm can never
have “enough” water, however by participating in our sustainability project from the beginning we taught and trained ourselves to get everything done with as little water possible. Even in the difficult times, our fields’ capacity increased with 25%, we saved on medicine because of good hygiene and we were able to ensure quality milk.

To top it all, we are so lucky to walk this journey, hand in hand with one of the best dairy producers in the country – who always encourage
and inspire better systems, new technology, and being as green as possible. Thank you Woodlands Dairy, every single one of you, for having our backs and teaching us one step at a time! We are – and always will be – proud producers!

Dairy Farmer (Cosamooselot)2019-10-31T07:06:03+00:00

Woodlands Dairy Milk Standard is:


Woodlands Dairy Milk Standard is:

Measuring wellbeing of farm workers.

  • All farm employees are employed according to The Basic Conditions of employment, such as;
    • Registered for SDL / UIF / WC / PAYE
    • Working hours / Over time etc.
    • Leave – annual / sick / maternity etc.
    • Remuneration according to sectorial determination.
    • Disciplinary procedures and records thereof.
  • Health and Safety of farm employees are taken care of.
  • Proper built housing facilities are provided to all farm employees, with basic facilities such as clean drinking water, electricity and ablution facilities

Measuring welfare of animals on the farms.

To ensure Good Dairy Farming Practices are implemented on all the dairy farms, the guidance from the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) of the United Nations ; 2011, is used to measure the welfare of all dairy animals against the five freedoms, namely;

  • Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  • Freedom from fear
  • Freedom to engage in relatively normal patterns of animal behavior.

Thus all animals are well fed and sufficient drinking water provided. Calves are properly housed and monitored continuously. They are well fed, protected from adverse weather conditions, inoculated against diseases and have normal animal behaviour.

The buildings and handling facilities are safe for animals, where they are handled and milked, with non-slip flooring surfaces and enough ventilation. All animals are monitored daily and any illnesses are identified early and treated accordingly.

Health management programs are in place to prevent illnesses and to detect any lameness or illness early. No mistreatment of animals are allowed such as whipping or prodding. During milking periods animals are fed to provide a relaxed atmosphere.

Competent animal husbandry skills are ensured through proper training and experienced handlers are allowed to handle the dairy cows.

All dairy cows are kept on pastures for more than 70% of their time, to feed and move normally about, to allow for normal animal behaviour.

Measuring compliance to legal, regulative and industry requirements.

All of our dairy farms’  facilities are visited on a regular basis to evaluated them against pre-defined criteria, prescribed by legislation and  regulations applicable on these facilities.

The Dairy Standard Agency of South Africa’s “Code of Practice” is used as the backbone to evaluate the facilities against.

As already mentioned all producer farms are surveyed and graded according to their compliance.

Woodlands Dairy Milk Standard is:2019-10-21T10:35:49+01:00

How we make cheese!


At Woodlands Dairy, we have extremely skilled Cheesemakers and dedicated teams to ensure that we can enjoy our choice of Cheddar, Gouda or Feta. Their skills are continuously tested. They work with living organisms (cultures) that react in complex processes when added to the milk.

How we make cheese!

1. The process begins with the cows.

2. Milk is poured into a container and stirred, a starter culture and a liquid named rennet is added.
This helps the milk to turn into cheese.

The skill of the cheesemaker is now at play. Deciding when to cut the coagulated curd, and the speed of the cut, the size of the cut curd as well as how to manage the whey released by the cutting process are vital parameters in determining the end makeup of the cheese.

3. Small lumps called curds form. A liquid called whey separates from the curd.

The curd is gently pressed to remove excess moisture. The cheese is then cut into thin strips and run through a cheddar mill, where the cheese is cut into smaller pieces again which creates the texture of the cheese and also removes loose moisture that may be in the cheese. Salt is mixed into the cheese to provides taste and enhances texture, but is also a preservative.

4. The curds are compressed, packed and sealed into blocks of cheese. The blocks can be stored for a long time.

Once the cheddaring and salting process is complete, the cheese is placed into large moulds and pressed under significant pressure to release moisture (again) and force the cheese to bind. Once removed from the press, the cheese is stored in a cold room for approximately eight weeks to enable the cheese flavours to develop, a process known as ripening.
Remember, the cheesemakers started the process by adding a culture to the milk. This culture is a living organism that converts natural sugars in milk to lactic acid. They control this process by making fine adjustments to the milk temperature, stirring and cutting speeds, as well as a number of other parameters.

5. The cheese is now ready to be transported to stores.

6. Consumers shop for their favourite chesses.

How we make cheese!2019-10-02T14:09:15+01:00

Sustainability Goal No. 1


UNSustainableDevelopmentGoals Brand 01 1

Woodlands Dairy Aligns

with UN Sustainability Development Goals

Woodlands Dairy drives its sustainability programme via the 3 pillars of People, Planet and Profit. As part of our drive to become a world class company, a need to align our efforts to encompass international sustainability objectives was identified. Woodlands Dairy recognises the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals of the United Nations (UN) and incorporated these principles within the pillars of People, Planet and Profit. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a universal Call To Action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Here are the first few steps in our journey:


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Woodlands Dairy and its subsidiary companies currently provide employment opportunities for over 1400 people and is the largest employer in the Humansdorp Municipal District. The employment opportunities created by the company directly stimulate the local economy which provides further employment opportunities for the local community.


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Woodlands Dairy sponsors a number of feeding schemes in the Kouga Local Municipal area that predominantly provide nutrition to the children and the elderly.

  • SEWENDE LAAN SOUP KITCHEN – About 160 people, children and elders, are provided with food three times per week.
  • JOYKIDS INTERNATIONAL – Young children are entertained in fun programs and also supplied with wholesome dairy drinks.
  • MARGARET’S SOUP KITCHEN – Approximately 80 children are supplied with breakfast and milk daily from Woodlands Dairy.
  • BET-EL REVIVAL CENTRE – This soup Kitchen receives groceries from Woodlands Dairy to feed approximately 100 children and homeless people thrice per week.


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Woodlands Dairy sponsors a number of feeding schemes in the Kouga Local Municipal area that predominantly provide nutrition to the children and the elderly.

  • SEWENDE LAAN SOUP KITCHEN – About 160 people – children and elders – are provided with food three times per week.
  • JOYKIDS INTERNATIONAL – Young children are entertained in fun programs and also supplied with wholesome dairy drinks.
  • MARGARET’S SOUP KITCHEN – Approximately 80 children are supplied with breakfast and milk daily from Woodlands Dairy.
  • BET-EL REVIVAL CENTRE – This soup kitchen receives groceries from Woodlands Dairy to feed approximately 100 children and homeless people thrice per week.


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Woodlands Dairy recognises the need to equip employees with knowledge and skills that will not only benefit the organisation, but also provide employees with the opportunity to uplift themselves and forge careers. Apart from on the job training and training related to specialised tasks and functions, the company has a number of specific projects that provide both employees and previously unemployed learners with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills.


The company is committed to providing support to employees whose levels of numeracy and literacy creates barriers to their career development by supporting them, via study loans and paid time off, to attend classes.


This learnership programme targets matriculated school leavers from the local area who have not yet gained permanent employment in the formal job market. It aims to retain these youngsters who would usually seek to leave the local region in search of employment opportunities. The purpose of the one-year learnership is to teach the successful 35 applicants the basic milk reception principles, dairy analytical procedures, health and safety and best manufacturing processes. The majority of learners who successfully complete the programme are absorbed by the company into permanent positions.


Our apprentice programme was initiated in 2011, as a medium to long term project, with the objective of creating a level of self-sustainability by providing the company with a pipeline of critical electrical artisans that are not always readily available externally. The majority of these learners are from previously disadvantaged groups and make a contribution towards the achievement of the company’s employment equity targets.


Our junior management serve as our first line leaders and their ability to act effectively is critical to the success of the organisation. On an annual basis, we select promising and potential leaders at this level to enrol in an NQF4 Manufacturing Management Learnership. Out of this group, high achievers are selected to complete a NQF5 Management Program.


Woodlands Dairy aims to address the need for skilled dairy product makers for the company and embarked on upskilling employees in order for them to be certified occupational tradesmen in production of various different dairy products.


Employees that have potential and are aspiring to grow within the company are provided with the opportunity to be considered for the provision of financial assistance of part-time tertiary studies.

Sustainability Goal No. 12019-05-06T08:11:09+01:00

International Ocean Clean Up Day 2017



Ocean Clean Up Day 2017

This month we enjoyed International Ocean Clean Up Day a day too early on Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay, 16 September, as well as in Cape St Francis on the 17th of September!

On the Saturday, we joined the Kromme-Enviro Trust and other local organizations in being part of a global event. All items were noted, tabulated and the data sent off to the Trash Free Seas (

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International Ocean Clean Up Day 20172019-05-06T08:12:54+01:00

It’s All Good


It’s All Good

To facilitate promoting its operational excellence and continuous improvement to become the most admired dairy in Africa, the “It’s All Good”-campaign aims to put Woodlands Dairy and the First Choice brand on the map as a sustainable company that operates under world-class process, and delivers products of an exceptionally high standard.

The campaign idea is to display the brand values and vision.

“We believe in operating our business in a way that spreads the greater good for people, the planet, and producing high-quality products that consumers love,” comments Tinus Pretorius, GM Sales & Marketing, Woodlands Dairy. “It’s an extension of our brand story to be able to allow others to share in our vision, just as we appreciate those who work to get great products from cow to consumer.”

Goodness runs through Woodlands Dairy’s veins, from the well-being of its team, its dairy farmers, the communities in which it operates and serve, as well as looking after the environment to lessen its carbon footprint, and the impact the business has on the world. Woodlands Dairy and First Choice truly believe that to produce a product which consumers love, it has to love what they do, and those who help to put its products on consumers’ tables every day. Food with goodness, as its very origins.

Further to this, Woodlands Dairy’s commitment relates not just to ensure the safety and quality of their food products, it includes minimizing the impact on the environment.

The three pillars of “It’s All Good” covers: Promise (high quality and business integrity), Planet (importance of conservation), and People (all people are important).


We place high quality and integrity at the heart of our business. The G-Free mark is our promise that our products are of the highest quality, conforming to international standards. We source milk from predominantly pasture-fed, free roaming cows using cutting edge technology and stringent quality checks. We honour our commitment to excellence and sustainability of our planet.


We recognise the importance of conserving our planet, and as such, we developed the Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Project. The programme covers issues such as environment, sustainable farming and animal welfare. We consistently aim to reduce our carbon footprint, which is audited annually.


All people are important. We value our Woodlands Dairy staff, farm workers, suppliers, customers and consumers. In addition, we are privileged to contribute to the Kouga community at large, through our CSI and Education Bursary programmes.

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It’s All Good2019-05-02T13:18:10+01:00

Woodlands Dairy’s Tradition of Caring


Woodlands Dairy’s Tradition of Caring

Woodlands Dairy is one of the largest manufacturers of UHT milk in South Africa, marketed under the brand FIRST CHOICE. The company consists of a team of more than 1 000 people and believes in innovative thinking, the speedy development of new products and excellent customer service. Woodlands Dairy prides itself on the implementation of social responsibility projects and giving back to the surrounding communities.


Kate van der Merwe Pre-Primary
The school made a plea to Woodlands Dairy to repair their building but building contractors appointed by the company found that the building was irreparable. The land was purchased by the Lex Gutsche Education Trust and in partnership with Woodlands Dairy the old building was demolished and building of the new school is underway. The new school will open its doors in 2017.

KwaNomzamo Home Community Based Care
This organisation visits families in KwaNomzamo who are infected and affected by Aids and who receive no monthly income. Woodlands Dairy assists with food parcels for 10 families every month for a year and this is the 5th year of involvement.

Sewende Laan Soup Kitchen
Selamma Oersen, who is well known in the community for assisting children and the elderly, feeds approximately 160 people in the Sewende Laan community, three times a week. Woodlands Dairy admires her effort and donates groceries and 20 loaves of bread each week. The company has assisted the soup kitchen since 2009.

Little Angels Day and Educare
The Educare Centre in Arcadia was established in 2015 and the work that the owner, Aletta Korkee of the crèche has put into the project to date, speaks volumes of the care she has for the children she educates. This inspired Woodlands Dairy to assist her in making the project a success. Space was limited and a Wendy House was purchased and installed. Equipment needed such as a guillotine, printer, laminator, tables, chairs and educational materials were also purchased. This year we will assist with partitions and doors for their ablution facilities so that children have privacy when they use the facilities.

Joykids International
Run by Hennie Visser or ‘Oom Hennie’ as he is known in the suburb of Gill Markus, this is a non-profit organisation with the aim of bringing joy to the lives of children aged 1 – 16 years old. They meet on a weekly basis, where the children participate in a fun programme and are given something to eat. Woodlands Dairy ensures that there is a good health drink for each child, which can vary in numbers of up to 300 per week.

Child Welfare SA Humansdorp
The company plans to get involved with a Back to School Project in the first quarter of next year, with the supply of windbreakers and jerseys. In the previous Back-to-School Project, Woodlands Dairy supplied funds for 74 pairs of school shoes. This year in February it provided school shoes, windbreakers and other school clothes.

Bet-El Revival Centre
When the Bel-El Church realised how many children came from school to a home where both parents were either unemployed or not around to give them anything to eat, they started a soup kitchen to take care of and feed 100 kids and homeless people, who sleep on the street in the vicinity of the church. Supplies for the soup kitchen are provided on a monthly basis.

Emmanuel Daycare Centre
Wilma Busher runs a day-care centre for 15 toddlers aged between 1 and 3 in Kruisfontein. She cares for these children for a minimal fee per month to assist parents who cannot afford to pay elaborate fees to keep their children safe while they are at work. In the past, assistance was provided by purchasing tables and chairs for the children to work on as they used to do all their activities on the cold floor. This year we will purchase educational equipment as the school lacks these at present.

Jongilanga Service Centre
This project is a planned programme of activities designed to promote well-being through social and health-related services of the KwaNomzamo Community. It is a day-care centre for pensioners. Their vision is to provide due care to the lives of the helpless, neglected and destitute pensioners so that they live as valued members of society with a peace of mind. To assist with their social activities we will purchase games, wool, knitting needles, blankets, plates and cups.

Kruisfontein Service Centre
The centre, situated in Kruisfontein, takes the form of a club for senior members, who meet three times per week to connect with other individuals of the same age and enjoy lectures and recreational activities. The company did some refurbishments, including buying an urn, sport and kitchen equipment. The senior citizens also receive groceries on a monthly basis.

Nkqubela Créche
Nkqubela Créche in KwNomzamo, operated by Margaret Mtsele, caters for 30 children from 1 to 4 years and has three teachers. We have assisted the créche with stationery, blankets, mattresses and crockery in the past. This year we will assist Margaret by upskilling the three staff.

Pink Panther Daycare
With the growing number of children who are at home without a carer during the day, Woodlands Dairy assisted by providing this project with a Wendy House, because the space they occupied was too small. Last year, the school had a need for tables and chairs. Because we know that colour brightens up a room we opted to purchase tables and chairs in a variety of colours. The suburb of Vaaldam, where the facility is located, is very cold during winter and we are happy that the little ones will not have to sit on the cold floor anymore. This year equipment to build a play park will be purchased.

Kruisfontein Educare Créche
The crèche was established in 2001. 55 Kids are cared for and the institution receives no government subsidy. School fees paid by parents are minimal and they often struggle to maintain the building they occupy. We identified that security is a risk at the crèche. The doors are always closed for fear that the children will run outside and go missing. Security gates will be purchased for this project. The toilet cisterns are broken and it is time-consuming to fill it with water during the ablution routine for 55 children. New cisterns will be purchased.

Haasbekkies Daycare
The main purpose of the centre is to provide a safe and secure place for the kids of Arcadia and surrounding areas. They care for 70 children. Currently, children access the facility via the kitchen which poses a safety risk. We will purchase a Wendy House which will be equipped with the necessary ablution and sanitation facilities.

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Jeffrey’s Bay

Ithemba Family Support Centre
Previously we assisted with supplying a fitted kitchen and appliances and this year we will assist with educational material, stationary and eight pin boards for classrooms. The company will purchase stationary, sport and educational material.

Madiba Bay Créche
The organisation serves to sustain the development of children in disadvantaged communities in Jeffrey’s Bay. They strive to care for and support children through education and nutrition. They aim to create a safe environment for these children. We will supply the school with 25 web beds.

Joshua Project
This community project, based in Pellsrus, caters to the educational needs of youngsters, who have passed the school going age and are battling to cope with their studies and have not completed their schooling. This is also a Drop-In Centre in the afternoons to between 50 – 70 children, who are offered a sandwich lunch. We have assisted this project with financing a portion of the costs of repairs and maintenance to their building and the training of facilitators in the past. We will purchase a gas stove with oven and a TV for their centre.

Healthy Mom and Baby Clinic
The clinic, situated in Central is independently run, but they work closely with the Department of Health to make ante and post-natal care, baby care, family planning, pap smears and cancer screening accessible. HIV/Aids and TB testing play an important role in their work with the women and children who visit the clinic as they implement protocols for the prevention of transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their children. A good filing system is vital to the administration of the clinic. The clinic was in need of an extra filing cabinet and office furniture for the midwife, sister and reception, which we supplied in 2015. A Wendy House was recently donated to the clinic to be used as an additional weighing room and a second-hand shop. Fittings are needed for this area which Woodlands Dairy will supply.

Rehoboth Assemblies of God
This church feeds between 40 and 80 children from its premises, three times per week. Aside from the provision of food, they assist with attendance and also coordinate recreational activities and programmes that promote healthy, functional families. Woodlands Dairy recognised the need in the community and supply groceries once a month to assist them.

Meals-on-Wheels Community Service
This is a humanitarian initiative that strives to bring relief to the country’s less fortunate and aged, irrespective of class, colour or culture. During winter they have a blanket drive which we will support by supplying a minimum of 100 blankets.


St Francis Bay

Margeret’s Soup Kitchen
Margaret Vena feeds approximately 80 children every day of the year with breakfast from the kitchen of her home in Sea Vista and we supply her with 80 litres of First Choice milk, as well as the ingredients for the porridge, once a month. We purchased an urn to ease the burden of boiling water for the two large pots of porridge she makes every day. This year we will continue supplying porridge ingredients. Woodlands Dairy is supporting Margaret for the 5th year.

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Woodlands Dairy’s Tradition of Caring2019-05-02T13:22:06+01:00

SA Dairy Championships 2017 Results


SA Dairy Championships 2017 Results

The SA Dairy Championships held some exciting news for First Choice this year!

Creating quality products is what the business sets out to achieve. It is always great when time after time these quality products are recognised. The 2017 Dairy Awards Championships held in Cape Town on 17 March was no exception. First Choice walked away with first prize in the Mild Cheddar category. This award is a prestigious one because numerous brands in the market compete in this category.

The First Choice Unsalted Butter also won first prize, with the First Choice Salted Butter winning second prize. Congratulations to every employee who made the awards possible!

1st Prize

First Choice Mild Cheddar

First Choice 500g Butter Spread

2nd Prize

First Choice Unsalted Butter

3rd Prize

Processed Cheese

Feta – Plain

Flavoured Milk – Strawberry

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SA Dairy Championships 2017 Results2019-05-02T13:23:14+01:00