I rekindled that memory last Summer when I invited him over to my place. We sat on a shaded balcony grazing on fresh prawns and white wine, and finished off with French bread sticks and brie. It was Heaven.
It’s Summer again, a season when my appetite for cheese increases. Which brings me to a question I’ve been thinking of for well over 12 months: Is Australian cheese properly branded? A disclosure – I have a professional interest to hear your comments as my law firm specialises in branding and trade mark registration
Why is it that I can tell lots of Australian wine stories and none about Australian cheese? It is not the fault of education – Australian primary produce featured strongly in my primary school studies and it included an excursion to an Oaks dairy.
As I grew older, through their strong brands and huge television and shelf presence imprinted in my mind are the cheese brands of Coon (Australian Co-operative Foods Ltd trading as Dairy Farmers) and Cracker Barrel (made by Dairy Farmers under licence from Kraft). But my parent’s household was a yellow cheese free zone; we ate Feta (preferably Bulgarian and sometimes Danish).
Yet I can’t tell one engaging story about those or premium Australian cheese brands. This surprises me. Only while writing this post did it come to my notice that Dairy Farmers is linked to Coon and Cracker Barrel, is 100% Australian-owned, is Australia’s largest fresh dairy business, and has annual revenues exceeding A$1.3 billion
This Summer together with guests we’ll ooh and ahh again about premium Australian Jindi and King Island Dairy cheeses. But beyond these I’m hazy about Australian cheese brands. It is bad brand logic that every man and his cow is prominently displaying the geographic descriptor “Tasmania” on cheese. Coupled with boring package design it becomes impossible to distinguish one from the other when they bunch up on a Coles or Woolworths cheese display fridge. It’s a big decision for a consumer, premium cheese costs about A$8 for a typical package.
If the branding challenge was better handled Australian cheese would be better woven into the tapestry of the food leisure, hospitality and entertainment economy here and abroad. We’d love to work with companies inspired by that vision
For now, if it’s a reliable, economical but special Australian cheese I need, then I’ll trust the niche retailers (such as Harris Farm Markets and Simon Johnson) rather than the cheese producers whose brands confuse me and I suspect others. Yet I’d like to be a better informed consumer of Australian cheese, and I suspect so would millions of others here and abroad.
I stand before fridges at Coles and Woolworths stacked with premium cheeses and I wonder: “What’s good?”. I often give up. Am I the only one with this problem? If not, then why is it that in a prominent cheese exporting nation like Australia (we are in the global top 10) I cannot recall a line of great Australian cheese brands (except those above), nor regions other than Bega (linked to Bega Co-operative Society Ltd) and King Island (linked to King Island Dairy). Is Australian cheese properly branded? What are your thoughts