This Startup Raised $17 Million for Its Efforts to Resurrect Cottage Cheese Sales

This Startup Raised $17 Million for Its Efforts to Resurrect Cottage Cheese Sales

Good Culture said its products have a clean ingredient list compared to legacy brands and sources its dairy from pasture-raised cows. We make cottage cheese lasagna, cottage cheese smoothies, cottage cheese baked ziti. Once a staple food of dieters, the curdy dairy product has fallen out of favor with Americans, overtaken by yogurt and Greek yogurt. According to market research company Mintel, yogurt outsold cottage cheese in 2017 by a factor of eight to one, and only 20 percent of Americans said they ate cottage cheese more than once a month. "Cottage cheese is something that we both ate a lot of because of the high protein content," Merrill said. We thought there was a good opportunity to come out and reintroduce or re-imagine cottage cheese and make it relevant to younger consumer segments." Its best-selling products are its classic cottage cheese, pineapple cottage cheese and strawberry cottage cheese. "[We need] to get current users to think about it differently and people who aren't eating the category today to pay attention to it." That comes down a lot to sampling, either convincing people that Good Culture's product is different that the one they're used to, or introducing cottage cheese to new consumers. Older consumers who are aware of cottage cheese use Facebook, while younger people can be found on Instagram.

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Good Culture said its products have a clean ingredient list compared to legacy brands and sources its dairy from pasture-raised cows.

This Startup Raised $17 Million for Its Efforts to Resurrect Cottage Cheese Sales

Jesse Merrill spends a lot of time thinking about cottage cheese.

“Cottage cheese is so versatile,” he said. “Cottage cheese adds a high quality, clean protein boost to any recipe that you’re making. We make cottage cheese lasagna, cottage cheese smoothies, cottage cheese baked ziti. I put cottage cheese in my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It tastes good on everything.”

Odds are, you never think about, much less eat, cottage cheese. Once a staple food of dieters, the curdy dairy product has fallen out of favor with Americans, overtaken by yogurt and Greek yogurt. According to market research company Mintel, yogurt outsold cottage cheese in 2017 by a factor of eight to one, and only 20 percent of Americans said they ate cottage cheese more than once a month. Those rates went up in 2018, as 39 percent of consumers older than 18 said they ate cottage cheese in the three months to July (the rate dropped to 29 percent for members of gen Z).

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But Merrill and his co-founder, Anders Eisner (son of former Walt Disney CEO Michael), saw the decline of the category as a huge opportunity, and in 2014 launched Good Culture.

“Cottage cheese is something that we both ate a lot of because of the high protein content,” Merrill said. “But the category was in such a sad state. It lacked innovation and the…

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