Specialty cheese is booming and with it, so are consumers’ desires for bold new flavors—flavors both steeped in tradition and novel to shoppers’ palates. And with its excellent quality, pasture-raised bona fides, and delightfully sharp bite, Old Croc cheeses seem a fit contender in a space that craves new terroirs, novel inclusions, and artisanal quality.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ken Meyers, President of Trugman-Nash, to learn more about the brand, the unique merits of Australian cheese, and the new developments that the company has in store. First, though, I had to learn a little bit about the history of the brand. The story of Old Croc begins nearly a decade ago in 2010.
“We had purchased the largest importer of Australian dairy to the U.S.,” Ken explained. “They had been importing dairy for 48 years prior to us buying them, and for all those years, they basically brought in very good commodity-oriented cheeses. But when we looked at the marketplace and studied Australian dairy heritage, the history of dairy in Australia, the quality of dairy in Australia, and the fact that it’s non-GMO, grass-fed, made with milk from pasture-raised dairy cattle, we realized we could develop products for the specialty cheese market that would allow us to stand out against our competitors.”
For Ken and Trugman-Nash, the quality of Australian cheese suggested the perfect supply for a new specialty cheese brand—one that stood out in a sea of imports from the EU.
“I believed there was a lack of knowledge in the American market that Australia was a phenomenal dairy producing region, and there was a story to tell,” said Ken. “And on the other side, we have the market access to allow us to import the product. It allowed us the opportunity to come forward and develop our brand, Old Croc, as well as the recipe for our cheese—and to find the right product that the American market would appreciate, which would stand out against our competitors.”
The process involved appraising the unique merits of Australian dairy and turning those merits toward something greater than the traditional commodity cheddar.
“In developing our recipe, we went with a lower moisture formula. We wanted to make a cheese that I would consider more of an old-style Cheddar,” Ken told me. “The cheese is not necessarily made for slicing or shredding with a very plastic body. We wanted more of a body that became a little crumbly with age, which developed lactate crystals, that really was a special product truly made for aging and developing flavor. We also felt that, with the difference in the composition of the milk, by virtue of being pasture raised, the flavor would really come out in the aging process. And we believe, by developing this recipe, that we’ve created something that is very special.”
That arch-flavorful cheese is a particular point of pride for the Old Croc team—who are confident that, essentially, if you try Old Croc, you will like Old Croc—whether you’re an enthusiast who knows their tyrosine from calcium lactate or a novice.
“We have a saying, ‘If we can get a piece of cheese in someone’s mouth and get them to taste it, they’re going to be sold on our product,’” Ken added. “And they’re going to want it again and again—because the product truly delivers. It has this nice, bold, sweet, extra-sharp flavor, and we find that, over time, it just gets better because of the recipe. The product really ages out beautifully.”
Old Croc is currently introducing new flavors to its Croc Bites lineand a new line of cheese spreads—the brand’s first foray into the cheese spread category. Both are available in Bacon & Jalapeño and Roasted Garlic & Herb flavors.
For more dairy, deli, bakery, and specialty food news, keep reading Deli Market News.