With fields in the heart of Colombia, and a mission to deliver its rebranded, innovative dairy products to a market in need, Deca & Otto touts a milk story not often heard. Alberto Sasson, President of the company, recently took the time to give me a detailed look at the company’s history and aims.
“Deca & Otto was inspired by the health benefits and delicious taste that buffalo milk products provide,” Alberto tells me. “We have always loved mozzarella di bufala [buffalo mozzarella in Italian] and wondered why mozzarella was the only item made from this delicious and healthy milk, and not more products.”
This desire, led Alberto to explore the possibilities of buffalo milk products. What they found, says Alberto, was that Colombia’s climate was primed for an abundance of water buffalo, whereas the animals are normally sparsely populated in other countries worldwide.
“We are very fortunate that in the 1800's, water buffalos were brought to South America, and a great amount to Colombia. Due to our climate and our ecosystem they have been reproducing ever since,” states Alberto. “We took a trip to Italy and bought machinery and tools to make mozzarella and other products. So our cheeses and other products are made in Colombia, with Italian traditions.”
Jacky Sasson, Alberto’s son and Marketing Director for Deca & Otto, discloses that as the company and its products’ success grew, the need to evolve its design, website, and branding grew as well. “I would say, overall, we have a more sophisticated packaging and brand image that will impress customers and go hand-in-hand with the quality of our products.”
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Deca & Otto’s design, however, is the addition of the company’s notable celebrities from whom the company derived its name; Deca, the company’s first buffalo, and Otto, Deca’s bird friend that sits on her head as she grazes on grass. This design choice represents the amount of care the company feels for its brand and animals, says Jacky.
Buffalo milk extends past just mozzarella, however. Deca & Otto offers the following products, cultured from 100% grass fed buffalo milk. Their current product line includes:
Along with the newer, crisper packaging, comes research into a flavored Greek yogurt line. In this creamy addition, Alberto says, consumers can expect a more subtle taste than the bitter bite that is expected from the usual Greek yogurt type. “...and I'm not just saying this, but our Greek yogurt is one of the best yogurts I have ever tried. Now, we just need to show it to the public,” he professes.
Jacky makes sure to note that Deca & Otto’s buffalo herds are not to be confused with the bison that are commonly seen in the United States. Water buffalo milk boasts more health benefits than regular cow’s milk, with 30% to 40% less cholesterol, and more natural protein and calcium.
“Buffalos give off less milk,” elaborates Alberto. “So the fact that there are less buffalos and they give off less milk makes their milk more scarce making it more expensive because there is a limit on how much product can be produced.”
Also a bonus? The company says that buffalo milk is also digestible by people who are lactose intolerant, due to the body’s ability to process it up to 4 times faster.
However, despite a progressive rebranding and sizeable moves towards expanding the brand, Alberto Sasson says that the core focus of Deca & Otto has remained the same. "Our company values are the same as when we started- treat our animals and employees with love and respect, and produce the most natural, delicious, and authentic products made from 100% grass fed buffalo milk,” says Alberto in a written statement.
You can keep up with the brand by following them on Instagram at @decaotto, or even better, you can try buffalo milk products for yourself by finding the Deca & Otto brand in the following stores: