Cheese Merchants Introduces New Cheese Brands

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Cheese Merchants of America Announces Introduction of Marano Select

Cheese Merchants of America, one of the largest cheese suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries in the U.S., announces a change in its cheese brands: Mama Francesca is now Cheese Merchant’s no. 1 premium brand – in both retail and foodservice, and Marano Select is the company’s new foodservice blended line.

The new brand strategy also includes the elimination of the original foodservice brand: Cucina Andolina. Cheese Merchants Executive Vice President Jim Smart said the changes were part of an initiative to review the product lines, marketing and brands. “We celebrated our 15th anniversary last year and took a hard look on what we’ve accomplished and our strategies for long-term sustainable growth,” Mr. Smart said. “We developed the new brands to simplify the product offerings in order to better serve the changing needs of customers and the marketplace we compete in.”

Mama Francesca
In 2010, Cheese Merchants of America (CMA) moved into the retail grocery trade in a big way with the launch of Mama Francesca. Mama Francesca is a line of shakers that offer pure cheeses or shakers infused with cheese and spices. Our founders’ grandmother was an avid cook and like most traditional “nonnas,” was no nonsense when it came to serving the finest food to her family and friends. Mr. Smart noted we wanted to use her name to honor the many long-standing principals she instilled in all of us with regards to quality and striving to be the very best.

Mama Francesca brand was also the foodservice blended product line that offered operators a high quality cheese at competitive pricing. In analyzing the brands, CMA realized that Mama Francesca conveyed one message in foodservice and another in retail. This new brand strategy will close out the original foodservice brand, Cucina Andolina and replace Mama Francesca as the no. 1, premium brand; regardless where it is sold. “Mama Fran” contains zero additives and truly pays homage to the roots and tradition of family values that the company embraced from day one when it opened its facility.

Marano Select
Marano is the town in Italy where Nonna Francesca was born and raised. In selecting this name, CMA chooses to continue to honor the heritage and tradition that was the inspiration for starting the company.

Because foodservice demands will vary – depending on the application – Cheese Merchants has many customers that use its Mama Francesca product to top salads and entrees, while using Marano Select to pick up the flavor in baked lasagna. This is how restaurants manage food costs – matching values based on proper product applications. Foodservice items that are high quality, but include blends that customers request, define the new Marano Select. It’s a delicious, high quality cheese – one that Nonna Francesca would be just as proud to server at her table.

Upgraded Packaging
In conjunction with this product consolidation, Cheese Merchants is also introducing new packaging for its cheese brands. Both Mama Francesca and Marano Select will now be available in packages with fully printed bags that are more in line with the re-marketing of the brands. These changes will provide a longer shelf life and better protection for finished goods. “The packaging is not only stronger, we’ve also dressed up the logos so they’re more attractive and professional looking,” Mr. Smart noted.

“We are very pleased with the new direction of our product lines, and we feel strongly that our customers will appreciate the new look and brands, in addition to enjoying the same great flavored, consistent cheeses that they have grown accustomed to the past 15 years.”

Mr. Smart stated that the new brands will be introduced Spring 2014.

Founded in 1997, Cheese Merchants of America is one of the nation’s leading further processed cheese suppliers to the foodservice, industrial and retail industries. Strategically located outside of Chicago, CMA’s 105,000 sq. ft. plant and warehouse deliver hard and soft cheeses grated, shredded, shaved and dehydrated. The advanced-technology facility provides Cheese Merchants with the flexibility to age, process and package cheeses in a variety of sizes and formats. By focusing on consistently-sourced imports that are processed in a single-source domestic plant, CMA takes great pride in offering the same high quality, consistent cheese every time. For more information about the company and its products, visit

Cheese Merchants of America … True to our Name. True to our Customers.

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Edward Zimmerman
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