Even with 35 years of experience witnessing food & beverage innovation, we continue to be amazed at discovering unique new ingredients. One of those is Labne. In 2015, we were invited into Karoun Dairies’ conference room to taste their kefir cheese, a traditional ingredient from Lebanon made with similar probiotic cultures to those found in Greek yogurt. Karoun’s President posed the question: “How can we be most effective marketing this product to the American consumer?” That question positioned us to take the first leap into a deep dive: looking at the related dairy product categories including yogurt, kefir and soft cheeses. Shelf placement was a key consideration. So was taste.
What if we were to give consumers a new healthier alternative to cream cheese, with all the benefits of yogurt and the sensory experience of a rich delicious spreadable cheese? Our creative group teamed up with our strategic planners to re-imagine a new better-for-you cream cheese. We introduced a variety of brand names and images to focus groups along with product samples, the response was overwhelmingly positive. From there, Blue Isle Yogurt Spread was born, the delicious and nutritious alternative to calorie laden, high-fat cream cheese.