Saputo Continues to Invest in its Award-Winning Black Creek Brand
MILWAUKEE — In a state where cheese reigns supreme, Black Creek, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s brand of cheddar and cheddar blends, continues to garner awards and investment for new marketing initiatives.
The Black Creek brand is positioned as a line of premium, classic Wisconsin-made cheddar cheese available in a variety of ages and blends at a competitive price. Black Creek cheese is perfect for everything from entertaining to day-to-day snacking, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s marketing executives say.
Key products include varieties of white and yellow aged cheddars, ranging in age from nine months to three years. The brand’s most recent award was a third-place finish in the competitive Aged Cheddar category at this year’s World Dairy Expo (one of six awards Saputo Cheese USA Inc. won at the competition).
The brand also carries specialty blends of cheddar cheese in its Artisan Series, which includes Cheddar Parmesan, Double Smoked Cheddar, and Cheddar Gruyere.
The Black Creek brand dates back to 2005 when cheddar made by Alto Dairy Cooperative received the moniker (Saputo Cheese USA Inc. purchased Alto in 2008). However, the brand’s cheese has been made in the same facility in the heart of Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley since the early 1900s.
The Fox River Valley is a place where hard work and good cheese are a way of life, says Gregg Palubicki, a Certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker who works for Saputo Cheese USA Inc. Like much of Wisconsin, the region is known for its high-quality picturesque pastures where the cows produce distinctly rich and creamy milk. It is here that the quality milk and craftsmanship dovetail to make the highly-acclaimed cheese.
Palubicki has been working at the Black Creek, Wisconsin, plant for more than 30 years, and under his watchful eye, Wisconsin milk is cultivated into the array of Black Creek branded products.
“My father started working in the plant in 1959, and early childhood visits to the facility with him sparked an interest in cheesemaking that continues to this day,” Palubicki says. “I started formally working at the Black Creek plant in high school, waking up at 4 a.m. to put a full four hours in at the plant before school. While there, I learned priceless cheesemaking lessons and gained an admirable work ethic from my father.”
Palubicki is a certified Master Cheesemaker charged with supervising all cheesemaking at the Black Creek plant, but he is quick to credit the brand’s distinctive flavor profile and success to the experienced cheesemakers at the plant.
“I’m blessed to work with people that have been making cheese for 25 or more years,” says Gregg Palubicki, SAPUTO.
“Cheesemaking is a very intuitive process. You really have to understand the science behind every step and these people ‘get it.’ Their skills and expertise allow us to produce the finest cheese possible.”
Top sellers for Black Creek cheese include Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (aged two years), Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (aged three years) and Cheddar Cheese with Parmesan Notes. All are available in 7-ounce chunks. The Black Creek brand also offers Sharp White Cheddar Cheese in 0.75-ounce pieces, six to a bag, for snacking.
Saputo Cheese USA Inc. created its blended variety of cheeses to meet the needs of consumers looking for specialty artisan cheese with a twist. Because cheddar represents a quarter of all-natural cheese sales, the blended and smoked cheeses offer a great opportunity for consumers to try an elevated cheddar, especially leading up to the holiday entertaining season.
Cheddar Parmesan has a creamy yet crunchy texture and pleasantly sweet flavor. Cheddar Gruyere has a smoother texture and nutty, piquant flavor. Double Smoked Cheddar is naturally smoked, twice, to produce a robust smoky flavor throughout.
Saputo Cheese USA Inc. marketing executives say they are seeing increased interest and frequency in snacking, so the company also offers its award-winning cheeses in innovative packaging solutions to help consumers with busy, on-the-go lifestyles enjoy quality, flavorful cheese in an easy-to-serve fashion.
Top-selling products are currently marketed via digital efforts on search engines and social media in addition to several retailer-specific programs throughout the United States.
The Black Creek website features a wide array of pairing suggestions, recipes and the history of the brand, as well as information about where the cheese can be purchased, searchable by zip code.
Alongside the brand’s digital marketing efforts, the company engages in a regional and interactive marketing strategy for the Black Creek brand.
Over the past two years, the brand has sponsored the Tour of America’s Dairyland bike race events in Milwaukee and surrounding areas as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison sporting events. At these events, attendees get the chance to sample the cheese while learning about the brand’s history and where they can purchase Black Creek products in the area.
Marketing executives say the brand’s goal is to continue to stay relevant to ever-evolving consumer groups and changing needs while continuing to provide the highest-quality product that consumers trust and feel proud to share with their friends and family.
“Keeping the time-honored traditions of Wisconsin cheesemaking is at the core of what we bring to market,” Palubicki says.
Source: Cheese Market News