Martch 10, 2023
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Schuman Cheese continues legacy of innovative, award-winning products

Photo courtesy of Schuman Cheese
EXTRA-AGED — Schuman Cheese this month rolled out its new Cello Extra Aged Copper Kettle Parmesan to retail stores nationwide. The award-winning cheese features intense flavors that come with aging, along with underlying notes of apple, pineapple and apricot. 

Photo courtesy of Schuman Cheese
INNOVATIVE SPREAD — Schuman Cheese recently added Vevan UnCreamCheese, available in Garlic & Herb, Plain, Strawberries & Cream and Caramelized Peach & Maple varieties, to its plant-based line.  

By Rena Archwamety

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — Schuman Cheese’s latest introductions, from extra-aged Parmesan to Mascarpone truffles to a plant-based cream cheese alternative, continue to lead with innovation while carrying on the family company’s four generations of quality and care.

“I think Schuman Cheese, by our DNA, has always been an innovative company,” says Allison Schuman, chief revenue officer. “It’s who we are as entrepreneurs — we put a lot of emphasis on leading-edge innovation. We see how consumers are looking at the market, jump in, and see what is really exciting ... we’re always pushing the envelope on innovation.”

The company started in 1945 with Arthur Schuman and his sons Jerome and Howard, who began importing cheeses from South America. Schuman remains a prolific importer of high-quality cheeses, but the company also has developed a reputation for its own award-winning cheeses and other innovative products under its brands that include Cello, Yellow Door Creamery, and more recently Delve and Vevan.

• Winning products

This month Schuman Cheese is introducing the latest in its award-winning Cello Copper Kettle line — new Cello Extra Aged Copper Kettle Parmesan, aged more than 30 months. This extra-aged cheese will be available at national big-box and retail stores.

“It takes a long time for this cheese to age out, and we’re so proud of it,” Allison Schuman says. “It’s taking our unique flavor, with apple, pineapple and apricot notes, and intensifying them. Like whiskey, the longer it ages, the more intense it becomes.”

Also under its Cello brand, Schuman Cheese is adding a new, limited-time summer flavor to its Italian-style Fontal line — Cello Charred Lemon & Chili Rubbed Fontal.

“It’s hand-rubbed, and our innovation/R&D team has done a phenomenal job incorporating a really unique, complex spice blend,” Schuman says. “Being such a creamy, soft cheese, it lets flavors penetrate into the cheese for a unique experience.”

These new cheeses join a portfolio of award-winning products, many made at Schuman’s Lake Country Dairy facility in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, under the direction of Schuman Cheese Master Cheesemaker Christophe Megevand.

At the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held last month in Green Bay, Wisconsin, two entries from Schuman Cheese — Organic Copper Kettle Parmesan and Cello Fontal — were among the top 20 cheeses to make it to the championship round of judging. Schuman Cheese swept the top three spots in the Parmesan category, with its new Extra Aged Copper Kettle Parmesan winning a bronze medal. The company also took home gold medals for Cello Asiago and Cello Mascarpone, among other medals.

“For us, we’ve always prided ourselves on importing and manufacturing the highest quality of cheese,” Schuman says. “Our Lake Country Dairy facility — which has won the (Dairy Foods 2018) Dairy Plant of the Year award, always wins awards on a global scale. It’s one of our biggest pride points to be able to share with the industry.”

• New innovations

Another one of Schuman Cheese’s latest innovations can be found in the specialty cheese case, though it is far from a traditional table cheese. Delve Mascarpone truffles were introduced just before the holiday season and are available at national and regional retailers.

The refrigerated confection is crafted with Schuman’s award-winning creamy Mascarpone and wrapped in 100% pure, sustainably sourced chocolate. Varieties include Sea-Salted Caramel Crème, Raspberry, Lemon, Chocolate Ganache and Tiramisu.

While Delve is new to market, these creamy Mascarpone truffles were 10 years in the making. A member of Schuman Cheese’s Lake Country Dairy team would use its Mascarpone to make tiramisu and other desserts for special occasions, including adding flavors, freezing it and dipping it in chocolate.

“We called them ‘Cello Delights’ for the longest time, and it became our favorite treat,” Schuman says. “We would make them for customers who came through, and they asked, ‘How do you purchase this?’ We talked to ice cream and chocolate makers, but no one could make a non-frozen, shelf-stable product. Finally we found a way to bring it to market.”

It’s rare to find a person who tries Delve Mascarpone truffles and doesn’t fall in love, Schuman says, noting that in addition to having the truffles as a dessert, people also will put them on their cheeseboards and incorporate them in entertaining.

Another new product breaking traditional barriers is Vevan UnCreamCheese, the latest product in Schuman’s plant-based Vevan line, now available in select traditional and natural grocery stores. UnCreamCheese is available in Plain, Strawberries & Cream, Garlic & Herb and Caramelized Peach & Maple varieties. Vevan UnCreamCheese is made at Schuman’s dedicated plant-based facility in Montfort, Wisconsin, along with other Vevan products including Ched, Mozza, P’Jack and Snax.

“The plant-based category is growing rapidly. As cheesemakers, and with our history of importing and making the best cheese, we’re using that and taking it over to the plant-based category,” Schuman says. “We’re leveraging our old-world cheesemaking techniques to create this new line and have that cheese taste in a plant-based product. Our plant-based UnCreamCheese is really creamy and gives you that tang of cream cheese. I’m a cream cheese lover, and I can eat them interchangeably. That’s been the reaction in the marketplace.”

• Company leadership

In addition to new product introductions, Schuman Cheese introduced new leadership this past year. Last summer, food industry veteran Steve Snyder joined Schuman Cheese as CEO, taking over for Neal Schuman, who moved to a new role as chairman of the board.

“Some of our most exciting news is welcoming Steve into the organization in July 2022,” Allison Schuman says. “During his last six to seven months here, he has been starting to redefine the organization and really help to formalize the success we’ve had to set up for the future. It’s been really exciting from a leadership standpoint.”

Snyder most recently was president and CEO of Whitehall Specialties Inc., where he created and launched the NewFields plant-based cheese division. He is the first CEO of Schuman Cheese outside of the Schuman family.

“Coming in as the first outside CEO, I couldn’t be more impressed by such an amazing family, team, tradition and customer focus,” Snyder says. “A key part of my job coming into the company is bringing ways to organize, focus and execute strategically, allowing for continued growth, supporting the fourth and future Schuman generations of leadership.”

From its imported cheeses, to its own specialty varieties made at Lake Country Dairy, to its new plant-based line, Schuman Cheese is focused on quality and innovation in all of its products. Even throughout the COVID pandemic, Schuman Cheese continued to invest in new innovations for consumers who now are reconnecting and looking for ways to entertain.

“COVID was a time when a lot of companies pulled back a little bit on innovation. There were supply chain issues, so they focused on their core products, getting back to basics,” Schuman says. “We went harder at innovation and new items. So many retailers and companies really thanked us and said, ‘We appreciate that you’re willing to push forward and do that.’”

Snyder says he’s proud of the way the Schuman Cheese team is looking at the post-COVID consumer and catering to their preferences.

“The mission of the company is to enhance everyday eating experiences with the highest quality cheese,” he says. “I think that is something that is imbedded in our innovations, whether it’s close to home or something brand new that people haven’t seen yet.”



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