CAO Formaggi (CAO, the Italian acronym for “Cooperativa Allevatori Ovini” meaning “Sheep Breeders Cooperative” and “Formaggi” meaning Cheeses) is a Cooperative composed of 700 members, that was founded in 1966. The cooperative was established with the aim of bringing together a group of farmers to transform the milk produced in the respective companies in order to create a distinguished production of delicious cheeses with high quality standards. The farmers' union also intended to enhance and recognize the work and characteristics of the sheep milk heritage of the territory.
The passion in their daily work and commitment to the continuous search for quality, in consistency with the principles of traditional Sardinian cheese making, are the values shared by all members of the cooperative, who over time have competed to create and carry forward the cooperative leading to the entity that today represents "CAO Formaggi".
The Cooperative currently distributes its products on a local, national and international level, but more importantly, they do not only export cheeses, but also culture and tradition of the Sardinian territory. With the brand CAO FORMAGGI, the cooperative produces a wide variety of pecorino cheeses that differ in taste and aging: Pecorino DOP with soft paste, semi-seasoned and aged cheeses, and also derivatives such as ricotta, melted, and grated cheeses. The entire production is made exclusively from sheep's milk.
Thanks to rigid quality controls and production methods, the cooperative can boast high quality standards. The raw material comes from local farms only. Cao Formaggi has set a policy of traceability that begins with the quality check of the milk and thus, the quality of the farms providing the milk. CAO farms are subject to strict controls to ensure hygiene and quality.
The values of tradition and quality are reflected in the policies of the product selection. The members receive payment for their product based on the sanitation and quality of the milk they deliver. This system guarantees maximum protection and quality of the milk and has helped to create an awareness and a natural selection of the cooperatives members by encouraging them to produce high quality.
CAO Formaggi has been able to gain local, national and foreign markets, thanks to their commitment and responsibility towards the consumer. In addition to the preservation of traditional practices and the guarantee of quality certified raw materials, CAO Formaggi continually invests in research projects, and updates production methods and use of technology, to obtain a continuous improvement of its products over time.
The location of the factory where the products are currently transformed is in the province of Oristano. Equipped with the most advanced technologies in the dairy sector, with 12,500 sq mt of covered area on roughly 50,000 sq mt area, the company has a production capacity that exceeds 180,000 liters/day and 22,000,000 liters/year.
The entire processing cycle is controlled with the greatest care in each phase. CAO internal laboratories work at full capacity to monitor and follow up with daily checks and analysis for the parameters at all stages of the manufacturing process, in order to guarantee high quality standards for each product.
The sheep-farming heritage is an expression of Sardinian history and culture that is a fundamental value of the cooperative, which is why the adoption of the latest technologies have never replaced tradition. CAO has always sought to assist the fundamental basis and knowledge of processing techniques with research and technology to distinguish their products that derive directly from the ancient Sardinian dairy tradition. It is precisely this ability to combine tradition with an avant-garde structure that is CAO Formaggi's strength.
Quality products in the name of Sardinian tradition
For CAO Formaggi, it is essential to deliver a genuine and authentic product of excellent quality on the tables of consumers around the world. From this philosophy, CAO began producing Pastore Sardo. The Pastore Sardo product line embodies the essence of CAO Formaggi, that distinguishes itself by the desire to represent tradition and to spread the culture of Sardinian cheese throughout the world.