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June 9, 2017
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Old Croc grows line with addition of award-winning flavored varieties

AUS-SOME FLAVOR — Old Croc is expanding its line of aged Cheddars with four flavored varieties. Its Horseradish flavor received the best of class award in the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest’s Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese category, while Bacon & Jalapeño placed second, and Roasted Garlic & Herb placed third. Also being introduced is a Chipotle & Onion flavor.

CAREFUL. IT BITES. — Branded with the playful warning, “Careful. It bites,” Old Croc cheeses from Australia are carefully aged to meet exacting flavor standards.

By Kate Sander

MILLBURN, N.J. — Nearly five years ago, Trugman-Nash launched Old Croc, a premium Cheddar from Australia, in the U.S. marketplace.

Australian Cheddar has long been regarded as a premium import in European and Japanese retail markets; however, until Old Croc was introduced, cheese from the Land Down Under wasn’t on many retail shelves in the United States.

Now, thanks to a strong marketing push and favorable consumer reception, the line can be found in 18,000 supermarkets nationwide, and that number continues to grow, says Ken Meyers, president of Trugman-Nash and its sister company, MCT Dairies.

The cheese can be found in such chains as Safeway, Whole Foods, WinCo, Food Giant and many others. It also can be found on Amazon.com.

“It’s pretty remarkable the inroads we’ve made in a short period of time,” Meyers says, noting the success is leading the company to expand its product line with flavored varieties. Meyers believes the cheese’s unique flavor profile keeps consumers coming back.

“People like good, clean extra sharp Cheddars,” Meyers says.


“It’s pretty remarkable
the inroads we’ve
made in a short
period of time.”

Ken Meyers
TRUGMAN-NASH


Branded with the playful warning, “Careful. It bites,” Old Croc cheeses are something new and different from a country that is well thought of by American consumers, Meyers says.

The line has met with such success that the company is now expanding Old Croc’s market position with a new line of flavored varieties.

Old Croc’s four new flavored Cheddars combine the signature bold “bite” of the Australian Sharp Cheddar with a hearty blend of today’s favorite flavors. The cheeses are the culmination of nearly 18 months of intense product development, Meyers says. The new flavors are Horseradish, Bacon & Jalapeño, Roasted Garlic & Herb, and Chipotle & Onion.

“The time spent developing our wonderful new line of flavored cheeses was, without a doubt, time very well spent,” Meyers adds. “If we give people a sample, they’re hooked. The product really delivers.”

The company already has awards to back up that claim. On a whim, the company entered the flavored cheeses — still in development — in this spring’s U.S. Championship Cheese Contest. That whim led to a major win: Old Croc swept the field, earning the top three awards in the contest’s Flavored Pasteurized Process Cheese category.

“To be recognized in such a big way by such a prestigious panel of judges at the United States Cheese Championships is a testament to all the hard work and dedication that went into making these delicious cheeses,” Meyers says.


“The time spent
developing our
wonderful new line
of flavored cheeses
was, without a doubt, time very well spent.
If we give people
a sample, they’re hooked. The product
really delivers.”

Ken Meyers
TRUGMAN-NASH


The Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheddar flavor received the best of class award, while Bacon & Jalapeño placed second, and Roasted Garlic & Herb placed third.

The new flavors — complete with the brand’s bold packaging and its signature crocodile — officially launched at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association show in Anaheim, California, this week. The cheeses are available in retail 6-ounce chunks, 7-ounce pre-sliced shingle packs, and 12-ounce and 1.5-pound variety trays that feature all four flavors.

For both the flavored and the original varieties, the quality of Old Croc cheese is what sets it apart, Meyers says. It’s not just the bold flavor that makes the cheese successful; it’s also the story behind the cheese.

Australia is a land like no other, Meyers says. Its geographic isolation has meant that much of its flora and fauna are different from species in other parts of the world. High rainfall, fertile soil and lush, green pastures encourage dairy farming in Australia. Old Croc cheeses are crafted with pure Australian milk from cows that graze on these rich pastures. The Australian dairy industry prides itself on the safety and quality of the dairy it delivers, and because the use of added hormones is prohibited in Australia, all Old Croc cheeses are rbST-free. They also are non-GMO.


“One of the real advantages of our product is that in Australia cows are all pasture fed, so Old Croc is all natural and hormone free.”

Ken Meyers
TRUGMAN-NASH


“One of the real advantages of our product is that in Australia cows are all pasture fed, so Old Croc is all natural and hormone free,” Meyers says.

While the cheeses are “free from” things like added hormones and GMOs, what they aren’t “free from” is flavor, Meyers says.

Trugman-Nash has imported Australian cheese since 1948. However, the imported Cheddar wasn’t marketed in the United States as a consumer-branded product until Old Croc changed that paradigm with snappy retail-sized packages and carefully aged product.

“It was an untapped market,” Meyers says. “Australia’s story really hadn’t been told yet, and we weren’t going to cannibalize the category.”

To develop the brand, Meyers says Trugman-Nash enlisted top-notch cheesemakers in Australia. After the cheese is made and initially aged in Australia, the 20-kilo cheese blocks are shipped. The cheese initially arrives in Philadelphia, and then is transported to Wisconsin, where it’s consistently aged and graded “the Old World way,” Meyers says.

The original Old Croc cheeses are available in Sharp, Extra Sharp and Smoked Sharp varieties, sold in 7-ounce chunks.

Old Croc Sharp White Cheddar, aged a minimum of nine months, is described as having a full rich flavor that’s bold, sharp and a little nutty. The texture is crumbly yet creamy, so it’s suitable for slicing or shredding, and it melts well.

Extra Sharp Cheddar is aged a minimum of 18 months, though Meyers is quick to note that the all of the company’s cheese is aged to a certain flavor, and not by months, meaning it might be a little older than the minimum before it’s sent to retail shelves. The Extra Sharp cheese is described as having a full, rich, robust flavor. It’s firm and crumbly with a fine granular texture — the true sign of an authentic, mature Cheddar, the company says.

Old Croc Smoked Sharp Cheddar combines the “bite” of aged Sharp Cheddar with the smooth, savory flavor of naturally smoked wood from apple trees.

In addition, the company offers Croc Bites, which are 6-ounce bags of eight individually-wrapped snack-size pieces of Sharp Cheddar.

From millennials to baby boomers, today’s cheese consumers are seeking bold and unique eating experiences to share with friends, Meyers says. The addition of the new line of flavored cheeses to the company’s original line of aged Cheddars now gives consumers the variety they want with the bold flavor they demand, he adds. Old Croc is now one of the fastest-growing specialty Cheddars in the country, Meyers says.

“We’re gaining traction everywhere we go,” he says.

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