Old El Paso enters dairy with shredded cheese line

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

Shredded cheese accounts for about one-third of all cheese sales in the US, which is a 12% increase since 2015.
Shredded cheese accounts for about one-third of all cheese sales in the US, which is a 12% increase since 2015.

Related tags: Cheese, New product development, Dairy product

Taco shell and seasoning producer Old El Paso is entering the dairy industry for the first time with a collection of shredded cheeses, in partnership with Crystal Farms Dairy Company.

The Old El Paso brand has been expanding under parent company General Mills to include taco shells, tortillas, seasonings, sauces, dinner kits, rice and beans. The new shredded cheese line is its first refrigerated dairy product.

Some of the existing Old El Paso items contain cheese, like the Cheesy Mexican Rice, the Nacho Cheese Flavored Taco Shells and several of the dinner kits. Old El Paso said its brand leads household penetration with total buyers among Mexican brands.

old el paso 2

The shredded cheese collection will launch with six flavors - Cheddar, Mexican 4-Cheese, Mexican Taco Blend, Monterey Jack, 3-Pepper Blend and Quesadilla. Old El Paso said it decided to enter the dairy market with cheese because of the category's recent growth in the US.

It cited Nielsen data that shows shredded cheese accounts for about one-third of all cheese sales, which is a 12% increase since 2015. Multiple-cheese Mexican blends represent about 25% of all shredded volume in the US, leading shreds in growth by 11% between 2017-2018.

Justin Conzemius, director of marketing at Old El Paso, said, “The addition of shredded cheese delivers on the promise of the Old El Paso brand to increase freshness and customization to our popular portfolio. We believe that consumers will reach for it as soon as they see it in the dairy aisle.”

For this launch, Old El Paso partnered with Wisconsin-based Crystal Farms Dairy Company, which has provided more than 150 varieties of local dairy products to US consumers since 1926. 

Katie Egan, director of marketing at Crystal Farms, said, “We relished the opportunity to be part of the Old El Paso portfolio and brought the creativity and diversity to our products that best represent the brand.”

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