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October 5, 2018
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Montchevre reaches consumers with integrated marketing program

A WIDE ASSORTMENT — Montchevre, acquired by Saputo in 2017, offers an array of goat’s milk cheeses in plain and flavored varieties.

RECIPE VARIETY — There are many ways to use goat’s milk cheese. Saputo supports the Montchevre brand through social media channels and influencer marketing campaigns, specifically focusing on recipes and pairing suggestions to highlight the cheeses.

By Kate Sander

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Just less than a year ago, Canadian dairy marketer Saputo Inc. completed the acquisition of Betin Inc., better known by its brand name Montchevre, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of goat’s milk cheese in the United States.

Montchevre’s strong positioning in the marketplace was an important factor in Saputo’s decision to acquire the business, and the transaction enables Saputo’s USA Cheese Division, Saputo Cheese USA Inc., to broaden its presence in specialty cheese.

“The Montchevre brand name is well recognized in the trade and with consumers,” says Kristy Klug, marketing manager, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.

Through the acquisition of the Montchevre brand, Saputo has been able to broaden its presence in the specialty cheese landscape and gain exposure to a new customer base as well.

“We also have the benefit of now offering their current customers a variety of new and exciting products that nicely round out their goat cheese offerings. In return the Montchevre brand itself will benefit from a variety of our efficiencies and economies of scale as we strive to expand one of the fastest growing cheese markets,” Klug says.

Founded in 1989 by Arnaud Solandt and Jean Rossard, the Montchevre brand began as a small operation in a former Cheddar plant in Preston, Wisconsin, in response to a trade embargo that kept European goat’s milk cheeses from making their way to the U.S. market. At the time it was slow going; making goat’s cheese in Wisconsin, known as a cow’s milk state, was a bit of a leap of faith.

Almost three decades later, goat’s milk is much more well-known among consumers, and the Montchevre line is the No. 1 goat cheese brand in America. Its cheeses are made in a plant in Belmont, Wisconsin, where they have been made since 1995. Due to growing demand, the company expanded its Belmont plant several times, growing from an initial 30,000 square feet to today’s 110,000 square feet.


“The Montchevre brand name is well recognized in the trade and with consumers.”

Kristy Klug
SAPUTO CHEESE USA INC.


Because the brand is already well-known with consumers, Saputo’s acquisition of Montchevre isn’t resulting in many visible changes except, perhaps, more visibility.

“Our focus is to simply reaffirm that brand awareness with current buyers,” Klug says. “Our messaging presents consumers with ideas and suggestions that, we hope, lead to increased usage and more frequent purchases. We actively seek out new consumers, too.”

Montchevre is best known for its Chèvre, which Klug says has an approachable flavor and can be utilized in many ways.

Original goat cheese offerings are the company’s best sellers, but Garlic & Herb and Cranberry Cinnamon flavors also are quite popular, Klug says.

The company also offers other Chèvre flavors that are particularly popular around the holidays, including Pumpkin and its award-winning Blueberry Vanilla. The company’s Blueberry Vanilla Goat Cheese was named the overall champion at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2015.

The newest addition to the Montchevre brand is “Kiss My Ash,” a vegetable ash-covered goat cheese that has a marble-textured rind and a smooth ivory body. The cheese took home a Super Gold at the 2017 World Cheese Awards based in London. Where Montchevre brand’s more traditional goat cheese logs and crumbles are perfect for day-to-day meals and snacking, Kiss My Ash cheese’s premium taste experience is well-suited for entertaining, Klug says. Its acidulous, semi-strong taste becomes more pronounced with age.

One of the ways the company promotes its cheese and makes it more accessible to consumers is by offering pairing suggestions. Saputo supports the Montchevre brand through social media channels and influencer marketing campaigns, specifically focusing on recipes and pairing suggestions to highlight the cheeses.


“Our focus is
to simply reaffirm
that brand awareness
with current buyers.
Our messaging
presents consumers
with ideas and
suggestions that,
we hope, lead
to increased usage
and more frequent
purchases. We
actively seek out
new consumers, too.”

Kristy Klug
SAPUTO CHEESE USA INC.


For example, Saputo suggests consumers pair Kiss My Ash with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a malty Amber Ale.

In addition, the brand offers a number of other premium goat cheeses such as Goat Milk Cheddar, Cabrie Brie and Truffle Goat Cheese that are great for featuring on holiday cheese boards, Klug notes.

With the holidays fast approaching, the company is in the process of launching new recipe videos, including one for Honey & Goat Cheese Balls.

The brand also will be featured in various national print magazines, as well as digital advertisements including Allrecipes.com and Amazon Fresh. Beyond print and digital advertising, there are a number of in-store taste demonstrations planned that will allow consumers to try the product before buying. In addition, many of the retailers with this product offering feature in-store signage that highlights easy ways to serve these cheeses and suggests creative beverage pairings that further enhance their flavors, Klug says.

The company also continues to strive to meet the needs of consumers who are interested in natural foods. In 2016, the brand began producing non-GMO 4-ounce Fresh Goat Cheese Logs, the first goat cheese certified by the National Science Foundation. Since then, the company has expanded its GMO-free offerings.

“We are excited to be able to offer all of our 4-ounce and 8-ounce goat logs and our 4-ounce original crumbles as non-GMO cheeses,” Klug says.


“With the success of the Montchevre brand before the acquisition, we want to make sure we are supporting and continuing the initiatives that have been handed over to us. We have always been impressed by their award-winning portfolio and the marketing initiatives they used to support it.”

Kristy Klug
SAPUTO CHEESE USA INC.


The company historically has won numerous awards — for example, its Truffle Goat Cheese, a soft goat’s milk cheese, won “best in class” in the Flavored Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese Class at the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest — and it continues to do so.

In addition to the Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards, at the American Cheese Society’s competition, the company’s Peppadew Goat Log took home second place in its class and Honey Goat Log, Fromage Blanc, Oh-La-La! Spreadable Goat Cheese and Goat Cheddar all placed third in their respective classes.

In addition, the company’s Cranberry Cinnamon took home first place in its class at the Wisconsin State Fair and Plain Fresh Goat Log placed second.

“With the success of the Montchevre brand before the acquisition, we want to make sure we are supporting and continuing the initiatives that have been handed over to us,” Klug says. “We have always been impressed by their award-winning portfolio and the marketing initiatives they used to support it.”

At the same time, the company also is looking for new ways to grow within the goat cheese category.

“Since the acquisition, we’ve implemented a consumer marketing plan focused around advertising, influencer marketing and social media. Our goal is to broaden brand awareness and increase sales,” Klug says, noting, too, that the brand is always in the process of developing new flavors and cheese types.

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