The gouda category is strong, said Marcel Vantuyn, managing director of Beemster, producer of the only PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) North Holland Gouda available in the US and Canada.

“There’s a ton of curiosity around cheese and gouda,” Vantuyn said. “Grazing tables are hugely popular right now, and that has opened up a whole new audience for us, as well as for supermarkets.”

More and more retailers are adding grazing tables to their catering options, Vantuyn said, creating an added source of business for Beemster and other producer’s gouda products.

“Now that consumers know that there is so much more to gouda than red wax cheese, they’re seeking it out.”

Beemster has made it its mission to educate North American retailers and consumers about what an authentic Dutch gouda “is all about,” Vantuyn said.

The company’s cheeses are all naturally aged on wooden planks, which develops a great flavor and texture profile over time, he said.

“We’ve developed a line of Gouda that retailers can build an entire program around and offer shoppers an experience that they can explore during multiple store visits.”

From sweet and subtle young gouda to robust and rich aged options, “there’s a Beemster for everyone,” Vantuyn said.

And there are plenty of different directions for grocery stores to take gouda in when it comes to merchandising, he added.

Beyond highlighting the snacking and cheeseboard applications, for instance, retailers can develop recipes that incorporate an authentic and aged gouda.

“Deli sandwiches, a grilled cheese program, mac-and-cheese, salads — gouda has old world European cachet, yet it’s also approachable,” Vantuyn said. “Switching out the standards that everyone knows reinvigorates these menu options.”

Sustainable commitment

Beemster cheese is already certified as Climate Neutral, and the company is now on a path to be Climate Positive by 2030, Vantuyn said.

“Every year, there are many very exciting developments that bring us closer to that goal. From initiatives on the farms, like biodiversity programs and green renewable energy, to transportation innovation and efficient cheesemaking, our 360° approach to sustainability is prevalent throughout our entire cooperative.”

Sustainability has always been front and center for Beemster, he added, and the company is excited to see how invested consumers and retailers are in environmental initiatives.

“It’s an honor for us to make cheese that’s really delicious and also meets these consumer values.”

There have been a lot of changes in how stores merchandise cheese, Vantuyn said, and with sustainability in mind, Beemster has decided to print less signage.

That said, the company still wants to support its retail partners with interesting and informative POS.

Beemster has developed a QR code sign for each of its cheeses as a link to digitally delivered content, Vantuyn said.

The stores print and display the signs, and the shoppers can scan the code with their phones to download a product-specific brochure with recipes and pairings.

“It’s a great marketing piece that lets us be agile in supporting both our products and our retailers, and the reception has been fantastic.”

This article is an excerpt from the May 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Gouda feature and more in the digital edition here.