June 14, 2019
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FrieslandCampina expands its U.S. market presence in retail cheese
New cheese formats, acquisitions provide greater variety

FRICO BRINGS CONVENIENCE — The award-winning Frico brand, produced in the Netherlands, is available to U.S. consumers in an assortment of easy-to-use formats. The cheeses also come in shelf-ready packaging — making them convenient for retailers as well.

EXCLUSIVE IMPORTER — FrieslandCampina is the exclusive U.S. importer and marketer of Wyke Farms brand Cheddar cheeses and Organic Kingdom brand Cheddar cheeses. Organic Kingdom cheeses are USDA-certified organic.

By Kate Sander

PARAMUS, N.J. —FrieslandCampina, a dairy cooperative headquartered in the Netherlands, is expanding its U.S. footprint.

With the acquisitions of two U.S. importers in the past year as well as new convenient product offerings under its Frico brand, the company is well positioned to serve retail customers across the United States, says Debbie Seife, marketing director, North America.

A major player in the European and world markets, FrieslandCampina has the largest packaging facility in the European Union and has products in more than 100 countries. The company manufactures Frico, Kroon, A Dutch Masterpiece, Parrano and Gayo Azul brands; it is the largest producer in the world of Dutch-type cheeses.

FrieslandCampina also is the exclusive U.S. importer and marketer of Wyke Farms and Organic Kingdom brand Cheddar cheeses from the United Kingdom. Wyke Farms has been in the heart of Somerset for more than 150 years and makes award-winning Cheddar from its family’s secret recipe on a farm that is “100 percent green,” FrieslandCampina says. Organic Kingdom brand Cheddar is USDA-certified organic. In addition, FrieslandCampina imports and markets cheese from Denmark, Australia, Ireland, Greece and other countries.

While it has operated an ingredients division in New York state and imported cheese to the United States for years, FrieslandCampina hasn’t been a particularly well-known U.S. entity until recently. After years of operating quietly in the United States, three years ago FrieslandCampina transitioned from having its U.S. retail sales and marketing headquartered in the Netherlands.

The company opened a consumer goods-oriented office in New Jersey with Gert Jan Poort serving as president of the division and added more staff.

As the division has gained momentum, the last 12 months have been pivotal. Last year at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) show in New Orleans, the company debuted Frico brand cheeses, all imported from the Netherlands, into the U.S. market in a variety of formats. These include Gouda Cheese Snacks, Shaved Goat Cheese, Cracker Cuts and Sliced Cheese.

“Our goal is to make goat cheese very convenient.”

Debbie Seife
Consumer Dairy US

From 20-gram portions of prepacked Gouda snacks to a variety of Dutch cheeses (Gouda, Emmental, Edam and Goat) in a resealable 5.3-ounce tray of sliced cheeses and 7-ounce cracker cut cheese trays (Gouda, Goat and Mediterranean Herb), the new products are both convenient and tasty.

“We’ve had a great reception with these items,” says Seife, who describes the Gouda and Goat Cheese as mild and creamy and “very approachable.”

The Frico brand goat cheese gives consumers a notably different way to use goat’s milk cheese, Seife continues, noting that the cheese has been favorably received even by those who don’t typically like goat cheese.

“Our goal is to make goat cheese very convenient,” she says, adding that the styles Frico is offering in goat cheese make the category more interesting and fun. A new addition has been shaved goat cheese, and other line extensions are planned as well.

“Shaved goat cheese with a little texture — it is a great addition to the Italian category shaved cheeses and can be used in salads, flat breads and soups, and it’s a lot of fun,” Seife says.

The company continues to showcase the products, including at last week’s IDDBA show in Orlando, Florida, and the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. While they have been in the U.S. market for a year, they are still quite new and there are many opportunities across the United States, Seife says.

“In addition to being the largest producers of Dutch-type cheeses, we have capabilities that are well-suited for the marketplace and the consumer. We are very committed to quality products and bringing the best products to consumers.”

Debbie Seife
Consumer Dairy US

The company’s executives believe that being aware of what consumers need and want, and responding to those requirements and desires, keeps the business relevant and competitive.

“In addition to being the largest producers of Dutch-type cheeses, we have capabilities that are well-suited for the marketplace and the consumer. We are very committed to quality products and bringing the best products to consumers,” Seife says.

She notes the company also has the awards to back these claims.

At the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest, the company won four gold medals for its Maasdam cheese, Frico Edam Mild, North-Holland PDO special old big wheel and Holland Master Goat PDO, as well as other medals. Both Wyke Farms Cheddar and Organic Kingdom Cheddar have been the recipients of numerous awards as well, she notes.

There are many domestically-produced Goudas and Cheddars that are high quality, Seife acknowledges, but there is something special about FrieslandCampina’s offerings.

“Our flavor profile and quality of products is superior, and our awards speak to that,” she says.

FrieslandCampina’s marketing programs include a combination of demos, in-store point of sale and digital programs.

Seife notes that the innovations in the Frico brand are unique. Shelf-ready packaging allows retailers to pop the cheese right into the case and resealable trays are what consumers are looking for, she says. Those concepts are particularly distinctive among imported cheeses, she notes.

“Our flavor profile and quality of products is superior, and our awards speak to that.”

Debbie Seife
Consumer Dairy US

In fact, what really sets FrieslandCampina apart is the way it adds value to its offerings, Seife says. Every day FrieslandCampina provides consumers all over the world with dairy foods that are rich in valuable nutrients.
“What we do adds value,” the company’s website says. “Value in nutrition. Value for nature. Value for people.

Young and old, consumer and customer, citizen and society. And in that way we add value for the owners of our company: the member farmers of FrieslandCampina. All employees worldwide are focused on adding this value, every day. Our purpose tells us why we do what we do, and our strategy tells us what to do to realize this purpose.”

“That’s not just info on a website,” Seife adds. “These are instilled values throughout the company.”

With the acquisition of cheese importer and marketer Jana Foods and specialty cheese importer and marketer Best Cheese Corp. USA, both in the latter half of 2018, FrieslandCampina now is positioned as a significant importer in the United States, Seife says. The acquisitions are being integrated into the FrieslandCampina Consumer Dairy U.S. business, she says, and the company offers more than a dozen brands across the nation.

“They have allowed us to become one of the biggest imported cheese companies and made our portfolio richer and deeper,” Seife says.



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