When Arla Foods, the fifth largest dairy company in the world but a relative newcomer to the U.S. market, launched its fresh-tasting, four-ingredient cream cheese here in 2015, it seemed like a slam dunk.
After all, the food world had been totally disrupted by consumers demanding healthier, less-processed foods with no artificial ingredients. Big Food was out. "Clean" was in.
And for decades, consumers had had basically one choice in the cream cheese aisle: Kraft's Philadelphia. The epitome of Big Food.
Research and product testing showed that Arla's product was a winner. It had only four ingredients versus Philly's twelve. Arla's cream cheese won hands down in taste tests. And we had a proven, compelling claim: Our cream cheese was made without added hormones, artificial flavors or preservatives.
But two years after entering the market, household penetration of Arla's cream cheese products had lagged well below sales projections.