Dairygold Co-op is to start selling cheese in the US under its Pastureland brand, launched in September 2019. In another tie-up with TINE Dairies, Dairygold Co-op is to supply cheese to a US arm of TINE called Norseland.
The implications? We don’t know. It will make for an interesting meeting for the relatively new Ornua board.
The move will likely spark a row with Ornua board members, who are not long after a row with Glanbia after its launch of ‘Truly Grass Fed’ butter and cheese.
Dairygold Co-op it seems very foolish to be putting a competing brand with similar characteristics on a similar footing into the US market
Ornua has invested for years in the US under the Kerrygold brand. For Irish farmers who have invested in that Kerrygold brand to add value to product and for farmers who have invested in Dairygold Co-op it seems very foolish to be putting a competing brand with similar characteristics on a similar footing into the US market.
So no doubt price will also be competitive. If you were a buyer of Irish cheese in the US you’d be happy. To get a foothold, discounts are usually offered.
It must be frustrating for Ornua staff in the US market who have been working to return dividends to shareholders such as Dairygold Co-op to see them actively competing with Kerrygold.
Will it affect the Ornua growth strategy? A spokesperson for Ornua said: “Ornua is in a strong position as the owner of the iconic Kerrygold brand, Ireland’s only €1bn food brand, which is the No 2 butter brand and the No 1 imported cheddar brand in the US.
The Pastureland guarantee represents a unique selling proposition
Ornua is confident of continued growth in the US through the Kerrygold brand due to a clearly defined strategy, an excellent quality product, a loyal consumer following and an engaged team that are passionate about Irish dairy, working hard to deliver for Ornua, our members, and Irish farming families.”
At the time of the Pastureland brand launch in 2019, a Dairygold spokesperson said: “The Pastureland guarantee represents a unique selling proposition at the very highest level in the dairy ingredients industry and is vitally important to our brand. It acts as a signature, an identifier and as a mark of quality. It is and should always be, the most consistent component in our communications.”
The Dairygold statement this week suggests that to take advantage of the increasing demand in the US for naturally sourced dairy products, Norseland will offer a range of Irish cheeses in its US distribution channels. Watch this space.