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Cheese market push

SOUTH West dairy player Challenge Dairy Co-operative is on the verge of launching a tilt at Perth’s cheese market, with the first products planned to hit shop shelves in November.

Challenge will bring a range of mature cheeses to super-market shelves, initially through smaller chains such as Dewsons, but hopes to find room in the specialist cheese aisles of Coles and Woolworths stores.

The only difficulty at this stage is what the range will be called.

Challenge makes the Watsonia brand of cheeses for George Weston Foods.

It wanted to launch its cheese range under the Capel name but ran into branding registration problems.

Challenge chairman Larry Brennen said there were about three or four names the company’s board would choose from at its meeting later this month.

“I know Capel Vale was going to be on the agenda,” he told WA Business News. “All of the other artwork has been done.”

Mr Brennen said Challenge would initially aim to have the cheese range sold through gourmet cheese outlets and some of the smaller supermarkets.

“We hope to get into the bigger supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths too,” he said.

As a new player in WA’s dairy market, Challenge has been careful to stay away from the bulk whole milk market, concentrating instead on exports and manufacturing.

It faces competition from Peters & Brownes, National Foods and Harvey Fresh.

The cooperative was formed about two years ago, growing out of a study group of eight farmers who had been meeting regularly for eight years.

It purchased the Capel dairy from George Weston Foods and the Boyanup plant from National Foods.

Earlier this year Challenge finalised a joint venture deal with Beijing Sunyuan Foods to supply dairy products to China.

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