CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Dierbergs Markets here has teamed up with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to launch “Dierbergs Signature Selections,” a new private-label collection of 18 premium, handcrafted cheeses made in Wisconsin.
“Dierbergs was eager to offer an exclusive selection of our own cheeses, and conducted an exhaustive search to find the right partnership,” David Calandro, Dierbergs' director of foodservice, said in a release. “We found it in Wisconsin, with its award-winning cheeses and support programs from WMMB. This fresh cut deli collection sets us apart in the very important specialty cheese category.”
Several supermarket chains — including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, Lowes, Piggly Wiggly Alabama, K-VA-T Food City, Kroger, Foodland and Shop 'n Save — offer private-label products bearing WMMB's Wisconsin Cheese logo, but the new, exclusive line at Dierbergs features 12 cheeses from Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, a special designation that requires 10 years of cheesemaking experience, a formal apprenticeship and a course of academic study. Cheeses made by these producers are designated with a “Master's Mark” seal.
Wisconsin is the only cheese-producing area outside of Europe to offer this master's designation, and Dierbergs is the first retailer to develop a private-label brand that emphasizes these Master's Mark products.
“We've been talking to a number of retailers about private labeling, and a number of retailers are using [WMMB's Wisconsin Cheese] logo on their private-label cheeses, but Dierbergs is going the extra mile with the Master's Mark,” Marilyn Wilkinson, director of national product communications for WMMB, told SN.
Wilkinson added that recent WMMB consumer research has indicated that product origin is becoming more important to consumers, and that shoppers identify Wisconsin as a state that produces quality cheese.
“Even before ‘localvore’ became a buzzword, people have wanted to know where their food came from,” she said. “That absolutely relates to [emerging] concerns about how far away a product is produced or what country it comes from.”
The new, comprehensive line, available at all 23 Diebergs locations, will include Muenster, Swiss, baby Swiss, mild cheddar, mild brick, farmer cheese, pepper jack, provolone, Colby, Colby jack, smoky cheddar/Swiss, American, havarti, whole milk mozzarella, smoked cheddar, hot pepper, reduced-fat cheddar and reduced-fat pepper jack cheeses. It will be supported with scheduled appearances from Master Cheesemakers, as well as deli signage, recipe cards, demos and other advertising.
A release from Dierbergs and WMMB said that the new line will help the retailer take advantage not only of the artisan cheese trend, but also the growing trend of brown-bagging lunch, as rising food and fuel costs make shoppers more likely to trade takeout and sit-down restaurant lunches for homemade sandwiches they bring to work.