More and more consumers are looking for unique cheeses that are made using traditional, natural methods – and that might be grown close to where they live.
To meet that surging demand, producers of artisan and farmstead cheeses are rolling out new products and sharpening their marketing efforts to educate people about this growing segment of the cheese world.
Emmi Roth is currently shipping several cheeses it categorizes as artisan: Roth Grand Cru, Roth Grand Cru Reserve, Roth Grand Cru Surchoix, Roth Canela, Roth Prairie Sunset and Roth Aged Gouda.
In the past few years, a couple of those in particular have asserted themselves as strong sellers in the retail specialty cheese case, said Brittany Fladeboe, branded product manager.
“Since 2019, we have seen significant consumer demand in the gouda and Havarti categories, which has allowed us to pivot as a company to offer both artisan and more mainstream specialty cheeses.”
But it’s not just gouda and Havarti, Fladeboe said. Demand for cheese in general has shifted a lot in the past four years.
“We’ve seen more consumers preparing meals and eating at home, which has sparked more demand for both specialty and artisan cheeses. The demand is not only for cheeseboards—it includes recipe applications as well.”
Roth Aged Gouda is the company’s newest addition to the artisan category. Aged for six months or more, it provides the same character and complexity as imported aged goudas, Fladeboe said.
One of Emmi Roth’s cheesemakers, Madeline Kuhn, spent more than three years developing the recipe for it to get the exact flavor and texture the company wanted.
Emmi Roth works closely with its grocery retail partners to offer artisan cheese that fits their specialty cheese set and meets the needs of their consumers. For example, when Emmi Roth developed Roth Aged Gouda, the company launched it in both a wheel for cutting in store and as a 5-ounce pre-cut portion.
The shape says it all
The latest farmstead cheese innovation from Waterloo, Wis.-based Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese has love written all over it.
The heart-shaped fresh mozzarella product, packed in an 8-ounce cup, is available at selected retailers, including Woodman’s and Metcalfe’s Market, and online.
“We have so much fun creating unique dairy products for our customers and the heart-shaped mozzarella is a first for us,” said Debbie Crave, Crave Brothers’ vice president. “We recently developed a chocolate mascarpone that is a top seller and we think the heart-shaped mozzarella will be equally as popular. Anyone can come up with an idea, but it is the quality of our Holsteins and the nutritious feed which we grow on our land, along with the care and dedication of our cheesemakers, that makes our products award-winning.”
The product can be used to top a favorite salad, on a Caprese skewer or as the showstopper on a charcuterie board, Crave added.
The Crave family farms 2,500 acres of productive land in south-central Wisconsin, growing soybeans, corn and alfalfa to use as nutritious feed for their Holstein cows. From the biodigester to water recovery and recycling, sustainability is top-of-mind on the farm, according to the company.
The Crave Brothers Farm LLC and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese LLC use 100% green power and are carbon-negative businesses. Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese produces Fresh Mozzarella, Mascarpone, Part-skim Mozzarella, Oaxaca, Farmer’s Rope String Cheese, and Fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds in white, yellow and jalapeño varieties.