With pizza accounting for almost one in 10 out-of-home eating occasions, success in the £3bn* market relies on creating products that taste great and get consumers coming back for more. So, making sure that the cheese you use has flavour, visual appeal and just the right amount of stretch can have an impact on consumer satisfaction and overall profitability.
That’s why Arla, the UK’s biggest dairy company, has launched a new range of mozzarella products, designed to help operators produce great pizzas, every time.
Mark Young, from Leeds based Sela Bar, has been trialling Arla’s new mozzarella products and said: “When it comes to cheese, I want a product that is consistent and helps to deliver the right balance of cheese to toppings, creating great pizza. Arla’s new Mozzarella does that perfectly, adding a distinctive, natural flavour. “The creaminess of the texture brought another dimension to the pizza in terms of flavour, which generated some amazing feedback from customers – a clear winner. Operationally, it also had the benefit of needing to use less than other products we’ve used”.
The range comes in six convenient variants including for the first time in both Sticks and Dice, giving operators the flexibility to choose the products that are best for their menu.
The versatile range includes:
• Grated Mozzarella
– Perfect for even coverage
• Large Diced Mozzarella
– Mild and creamy with larger chunks for a slower melt
• Diced Mozzarella
– For optimum stretch
• Sticks Mozzarella
– Gives great holding performance
• Grated Mozzarella & Cheddar
– Fresh and creamy, delivering enhanced flavour
• Mozzarella Block
– For ultimate versatility
Operationally, Arla’s new Mozzarella range provides a level of consistency and even melt, which according to Charlie Nelson (the man behind iconic street food brand, Fundi Pizza) ‘delivers a lovely brown melt and creamy taste’. Charlie is among an increasing number of high profile pizza operators who have already recognised the operational benefits of Arla Mozzarella, whether that’s the product delivery, the naturalness of the product or an even and consistent melt. As well as working well operationally, Arla’s Mozzarella also meets consumer demand for natural, responsibly sourced ingredients. 100% mozzarella, without the added vegetable oil and starches that many other products contain, as well as being lower in salt – all of which combine for better performance and ultimately a more satisfying eating experience.
Arla’s new mozzarella products deliver on takeaway too. In the past, there has been an issue with transparency for some cheeses, particularly if they were held or put in a pizza box, which means that the operator must use more product to maintain customer satisfaction and avoid looking ‘mean’ or ‘ungenerous’.
Arla’s Sticks Mozzarella is achieving fantastic results, giving great pizza coverage and maintaining opacity particularly when held under hot lamps or when delivered, avoiding any such quality issues. All the products in the new range are endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs, giving operators the reassurance that they have been tried and tested by some of the UK’s leading chefs so that you can buy safe in the knowledge that they will also perform in your oven.
Arla is farmer-owned, giving us complete traceability and quality control from well-cared-for cows to your kitchen. And with farmer owners, when you buy an Arla product, you can rest assured you are supporting farmers directly.
*MCA Menu and Food Trends Report
Fresh Thinking in Cheese
Q&A with Jonathan Dixon, Vice President Arla Pro, UK
How is the cheese category currently performing?
Cheese remains a strong category with market growth around 3.5% year on year. At Arla Pro, growth in cheese has been almost double the rate of market growth since the start of 2018, largely driven by industry and consumer trends that we are best placed to deliver. Consumer demand for real cheese made from simple natural ingredients is increasing and expectations in the out-of-home market are being driven by this search for quality. In the professional kitchen, convenience and ease of use means formats such as pre-grated or sliced are seeing significant growth. And finally variety. Cheese is being used in many more ways, especially as an addition to salads, while regional variations and some European cheeses such as havarti, halloumi and gouda are quickly becoming defining menu options.
Has the rise in certain categories (pizza, Mexican food) affected demand and what’s available?
Cheese has always been a popular ingredient in the UK. Almost half the UK population eats pizza at least once a week, while food options with cheese are fast reappearing on the menu, such as macaroni cheese, which is 500 times more likely to appear on a restaurant menu versus 2010.
While cheese demand overall is in growth globally and has been for a number of years, it is mozzarella that is seeing some of the greatest sustained demand from both consumers and the foodservice industry. Arla Foods expects the European mozzarella cheese market to increase from 600,000 tonnes in 2017 to 720,000 tonnes by 2022. In order to meet this demand, investment in cheese production is essential as proven by Arla’s 2017 investment to further increase its mozzarella production by 35,000 tonnes to enable it to provide quality mozzarella in Europe, Asia, USA and the Middle East.
What procurement advice would you give restaurants looking to choose a fresh cheese for their menu?
Cheese shouldn’t be a procurement decision. It’s an essential ingredient that can make or break a dish. From the way it crumbles, to the way it melts, the cheese you select for your dish needs to deliver functionality in your creations and enhance the flavour of your dish but also remain consistent in performance. But if it does come down to the business side, our advice would be to look for the added value, the provenance story that you can use for your customers, such as Arla’s farmer-owned story, the supplier that has complete transparency from farm to your kitchen for product consistency and never compromises quality for cost because taste will always win through.
What’s next in cheese?
The increasing trend for a flexitarian diet has supported cheese category growth, for example halloumi burgers and mozzarella sticks are increasingly in demand. We’re seeing an increase in consumer intolerances and an appetite for our Lactofree ranges in the retail markets – we’re increasingly seeing this demand move to the out-of-home market as consumers want dairy but without the lactose, for health or lifestyle reasons. We’re expecting Lactofree to become increasingly popular and an increasing potential demand for a Lactofree cheese suitable for the foodservice market.
Briefly outline Arla’s range of cheeses...
Arla has an extensive range of award-winning cheddars available in blocks, sliced and grated pack sizes. Our Castello range is particularly popular with Burger Blue cheese slices and Danablu cheese joining the Tickler Extra Mature cheddar, while our award-winning Tuxford and Tebbutt Blue Stilton cheese remains a firm favourite for many chefs looking for the richest of flavours. In January 2018, we launched a range of five mozzarella lines offering a selection of format choices to meet the growing demand in the kitchen.