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Ownership Culture

Our Vision, Mission, Values, and Core Promises describe the uniqueness of our Ownership Culture and drive our success.

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Great Lakes Cheese Founder Hans Epprecht saw infinite potential everywhere—in everyone and everything. To reward employees for their dedication and contributions, he launched the pivotal Profit Sharing Plan in 1971, which later evolved into the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1998. This tangible stake in the business created the ownership culture we still live today. Our culture’s key ingredients: Vision, Mission, Values, and Core Promises, continually inspire employee-owners to approach their work with ownership, pride, and care.


What we strive for.

We understand that we work best together, to grow the business and better our world for generations to come.

Pack every moment with passion and potential.


Our daily guide to keep us on track.

Every moment of every day, there is a Great Lakes Cheese facility with teams of employee-owners packing product for our customers. With our unending passion and approach of seeing potential in our business and careers, we provide the nation with nutritious cheese.


Our foundation.

Hans built our business on these values 65+ years ago, and we’ve embraced them ever since. This is a legacy we continue to demonstrate in how we work with each other and our customers.

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Core Promises

Markers of our ownership culture along the way.

Interconnected, interdependent, and purposefully ordered, these actions are packaged in a way that describes the way we work and the philosophies that have been in place since our first day of operations. When we work together in these ways, we achieve great things.

Great Lakes Cheese core values of protect, care, create, grow, and partner.
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Safety first, always.

We are committed to the health and safety of our employee-owners, customer, the products we make, and the world we share.

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Every person matters.

We do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. We approach our work, and those around us, with integrity and respect.

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Innovation fuels success.

We ask, listen, and learn, so we can rethink what’s expected and turn insights into valuable solutions.

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Potential is infinite.

We see beyond today and embrace change. Our entrepreneurial spirit and ownership culture generates opportunity and possibility.

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Together, we can be champions.

We foster teamwork from our employee-owners, customers, and suppliers. By coming together, we lead categories, win awards, and achieve great things.

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Join Our Team

We are a passionate family of employee-owners working together to feed America. Discover your infinite potential with us.

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