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May 12, 2017
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Finlandia offers best-of-class cheese, new products for U.S. consumers

WIDE SELECTION — Finlandia, which supplies a wide range of premium cheese and butter products for U.S. customers, is expanding its offerings.

AWARD-WINNING SWISS — Among Finlandia’s offerings is rich and nutty Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese made by Ohio-based Guggisberg Inc., using Finlandia’s proprietary recipe, was the first place winner in the Swiss-style class at this year’s U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

By Kate Sander

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — New products are abounding for Finlandia Cheese Inc., the U.S. business of Finland-based Valio Ltd.
Emma Aer, CEO, Finlandia, says the company’s aim is to collaborate with customers, distributors and brokers to understand their needs and those of consumers to provide innovative solutions.

“We take pride in understanding what consumers want and look at flavor profiles to make products that fit their needs,” Aer says. “We set the bar high by conducting blind taste tests for new products which the products must pass.”

In addition to innovative new products, evidence of that high bar recently was seen at this spring’s U.S. Championship Cheese Contest in which Swiss cheese made by Ohio-based Guggisberg Inc., using Finlandia’s proprietary recipe, was the first-place winner in the Swiss-style class.

“Here at Finlandia, we take great pride in our all-natural recipe and in the high quality ingredients that we use to make our delicious Finlandia Swiss cheese,” Aer says. “It is an honor to have been recognized by the United States Championship Cheese Contest, alongside our valued partner, Guggisberg Cheese, for a premium product that we are truly proud of.”


“We take pride
in understanding
what consumers want
and look at flavor
profiles to make
products that fit
their needs.
We set the bar high
by conducting
blind taste tests
for new products
which the products
must pass.”

Emma Aer
FINLANDIA CHEESE


Distinctively rich and nutty, Finlandia Swiss is crafted from rbST-free milk and aged 100 days for a delicious, robust flavor. The company will be noting the win on future packaging, Aer says, and is promoting it in press releases and on select in-store materials.

Through the years, Finlandia Cheese has made a commitment to pure, wholesome ingredients and superb European craftsmanship that has earned it numerous international awards for cheesemaking excellence.

Under the umbrella of Valio — which formed in 1905 when 17 of Finland’s dairies joined together to create that country’s first dairy cooperative and today represents 85 percent of Finland’s milk — Finlandia continues to build on its passion and proud tradition for crafting cheeses of the very highest quality.

“We don’t try to be the lowest-cost player,” Aer says. “We provide high quality, premium tasting products.”

Finlandia Cheese Inc. was founded in the 1950s as demand for full flavored, quality cheeses began to grow in America, Aer says. The company’s cheeses quickly became a favorite in the finest New York delis and then expanded into supermarkets, delis, cheese shops and restaurants throughout the Northeast.

Finlandia models Valio’s dedication to innovation that earned the company one of the world’s highest honors when Artturi Ilmari Virtanen, the company’s director of research, received the Nobel Prize award for his ground-breaking work related to Emmental Swiss cheese production in 1945, Aer says.

Finlandia does not produce cheese in the United States itself but contracts with quality partners to produce cheese to Finlandia specifications. The company also imports products from its parent company in Finland.

“We have a small R&D team here (in the United States) that focuses on consumer needs and works with the larger group in Finland,” Aer says, noting that Finlandia is able to leverage the capabilities of a large R&D group and more than 4,000 employees in Finland.

While best known for traditional Swiss cheese in the United States, Finlandia’s full line of premium cheeses is available in 12 varieties, including Swiss, Gouda, Havarti, Provolone and Tilsit, and can be found throughout the United States.

The company now is focusing on bringing these cheeses to consumers in increasingly convenient formats.


“Here at Finlandia,
we take great pride
in our all-natural
recipe and in the
high quality ingredients
that we use to make
our delicious Finlandia
Swiss cheese.
It is an honor to have
been recognized
by the United States
Championship Cheese
Contest, alongside
our valued partner,
Guggisberg Cheese,
for a premium
product that we are
truly proud of.”

Emma Aer
FINLANDIA CHEESE


This fall, Finlandia is introducing cheese sticks that bring flavorful table cheese favorites to a convenient snacking format. The new sticks come in Gouda, Gouda & Parmesan Blend and Cheddar & Gruyere Blend. There are nine sticks to a 6.75-ounce bag, and a one stick serving is 80 to 90 calories. All are made with rbST-free milk and are a good source of protein and calcium, the company says.

New imported cheeses also have joined the company’s line up in 7-ounce packaged chunks. These imports include Gouda, Gruyere, Swiss and Keisarinna.Keisarinna, the Finnish word for empress, is a combination of sweet creamy Gouda and sharp Parmesan. Like the company’s other cheeses, all are rBST-free.

Additionally, the company will be introducing two new flavors to its Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese line — Zesty Pepper and Smooth Horseradish. The new flavors join the line’s existing Classic, Black Garlic, Creamy Dill, Sweet Lemon and Vanilla Bean flavors.

Building on its century-long tradition of crafting the highest quality cheeses, Finlandia also has launched its newest product line, premium imported butter, fresh from Finland.

The butter line originally was launched in the United States in 2014, Aer says, and has proved quite successful. Made from high quality Finnish milk, which is consistent throughout the year, the products are rbST-free and GMO-free. With the line’s successful launch, the company now is introducing line extensions.

These line extensions include Finlandia Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil, a product with 55 percent less sodium than other similar products because it is made with ValSa, a unique salt derived from naturally occurring minerals found in milk. The patented milk salt consists of the natural minerals in milk: potassium, iodine, magnesium, calcium, as well as sodium. Ordinary table salt consists almost completely of sodium chloride, Aer says, while milk salt contains a high amount of potassium and nearly 80 percent less sodium than ordinary table salt. The product also is available in a reduced-fat version. The products are available in 8- and 15-ounce tubs, she adds.

Also coming this fall will be Finlandia Butter Sticks in two 4-ounce stick and four 4-ounce stick easy open/close boxes. Consumers often prefer 8-ounce sizes and recipes often call for 8 ounces of butter; with convenient 4-ounce sticks it’s easier to measure and use in cooking and baking, Aer says.


“We will leverage
our strong Finlandia
brand and our
Nobel prize-winning
R&D capabilities.”

Emma Aer
FINLANDIA CHEESE


In the coming year, Finlandia plans to continue pursuing growth and excellence, Aer says.

“We will leverage our strong Finlandia brand and our Nobel prize-winning R&D capabilities,” she says.

In 2016, Finlandia created an omni-channel consumer-centric marketing campaign with consistent messaging across all consumer touch points which include digital media, public relations, couponing, trade promotion, point of sale, social media, a chef/influencer program, sampling and other events. In 2017, Finlandia will continue to execute this omni-channel strategy supporting the existing products as well as the innovative new launches, she adds.

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