While it is cheese time all the time in my household, the holidays create incredible opportunities for retailers and foodservice operators to take the buying behaviors of consumers and trade members like myself and elevate their game. Enter industry trailblazers like Arla Foods and the company’s CASTELLO® brand Havarti cheese. With new products set for holiday shopping baskets and features to make the cheese lover at the counter swoon, I spoke with Leah Sbriscia, Brand Manager of Castello, on the benefits of partnering with an industry leader like Arla and premium programs like the Castello brand.
“Castello, established in 1893, has a rich tradition of authentic cheese making. Today, the brand remains rooted in high-quality, simple ingredients consumers believe in and our retail and foodservice partners can trust. To support Havarti-filled holidays, Castello is launching a Holiday Cheese Selection Box. The cheese features our best-selling Creamy Havarti cheese, Aged Gouda, and Traditional Blue Cheese Wedge,” Leah shares with me. “And that is not all. We believe in the quality of the cheeses that we produce and are thrilled that in October 2019, Castello Havarti was granted the European Union’s Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, becoming a geographically protected cheese within the EU.”
So, what does that mean for an already distinguished product? Leah reflects that PGI status is a distinguishing mark of quality. Castello’s Havarti portfolio is made in Denmark, where Havarti was originally invented.
“With the Castello Havarti portfolio now carrying this PGI status, we are excited to begin rolling out the PGI symbol on our Havarti packaging in early 2021 to further communicate the brand’s exceptional quality and Danish Heritage to our consumers and retail partners,” Leah expresses. “Like all Castello items, we developed our Havarti recipe with the expertise of artisan cheesemakers and traditional cheesemaking methods. The result is a creamy, delicious cheese that’s worth protecting, and its PGI status is proof of that.”
When I inquire about the nature of achieving PGI status and how this creates more holistic and valuable partnerships for customers, Leah tells me that the PGI is an important recognition and it emphasizes the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product, where a particular quality, reputation, or other characteristic is attributable to its geographical origin.
One of the most impactful selling and marketing points of any product is its differentiation from other leaders in the same pack, and Castello has this attribute in droves, as you can already see. Being part of a company that is 100 percent farmer-owned, Castello is committed to sustainability as well. Castello farmers care for their cows and take great pride in having high standards on their farms.
“We have a natural interest in high animal welfare standards, milk quality, and state-of-the-art production. We strive for the best environmental practices and work to continuously reduce our environmental impact, all the way from the farm to the consumer. I believe these commitments come through in the quality, flavor, and eating experience of our cheese,” Leah says.
Castello Havarti’s meltability is second to none as well, Leah notes.
“Havarti is perfect for the holidays. Its mild flavor, superior meltability, and creamy taste make it the perfect addition to nearly any dish. Whether you’re looking to serve the ultimate frittata, create the creamiest ever mac and cheese, or simply construct a stellar cheese board, Castello Havarti is the answer,” she says.
Castello has a holiday program to rival, and I, for one, cannot wait to see how retailers and foodservice operators take advantage of these flavorful opportunities.