Ingles Markets operates, as a wholly-owned subsidiary, a milk processing and packaging plant which it purchased from Sealtest in 1982. Annual production at Milkco has grown from 5 million gallons in 1982 to over 60 million gallons today. In addition to providing most of the fluid milk needs of the Ingles stores, Milkco also provides dairy, citrus, tea, ice cream mix and bottled water to food service distributors, grocery warehouses, and independent specialty retailers in 10 states.
Milkco is one of the few dairy operations in the U.S. which packages 100% of its products in recyclable corrugated boxes. (The boxes themselves are made up of 25% recycled material). The corrugated shippers provide additional temperature protection, as well as keeping containers much cleaner during distribution than do conventional plastic cases.
This environmentally-friendly focus is also reflected in energy and water efficiency. A successful pilot-project to reduce milk residue in waste water from equipment cleaning is receiving national attention from other processors. Milkco's pacesetting process control systems not only help production efficiency, but provide additional safeguards for product quality.
All Milkco associates continually keep in mind that product quality and customer satisfaction are the primary goals of the organization.