“Instead of just putting our products on the grocery shelf, we are supporting Muuna with a multi-pronged sales and marketing approach to drive awareness and trial. Results have been gratifying as we’re seeing consumers embrace Muuna and our retail partners are experiencing category trend improvements within a short period of launching Muuna,” claimed CEO Gerard Meyer.
One of a new breed of cottage cheese brands trying to reposition the product as a high-protein snack in single serve packaging, Muuna ticks all the boxes today’s consumers are looking for in that it’s nutrient dense, simple and wholesome, clean-label, high in protein, minimally processed, and low in calories and saturated fat, said Meyer.
A 5.3oz pot of 2% milkfat Muuna contains 120 calories, 19grams of protein - which is more than Greek yogurt – 3 grams of fat, and 4 grams of sugar.
The key problem, Meyer told FoodNavigator-USA earlier this year, is that the US cottage cheese category has been stuck in a time warp, while the yogurt fixture has been transformed by disruptive players such as Chobani and deluged with new concepts to keep shoppers interested.
“There’s no Chobani in cottage cheese,” added Meyer, who heads up Muuna Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel’s biggest food manufacturer, and cottage cheese expert, Tnuva (which is in turn owned by Chinese company Bright Food).
Reimagining cottage cheese
Like John Haugen at General Mills 301 INC (which has invested in oganic cottage cheese brand goodculture), it’s more helpful to think about need states or usage occasions than narrowly defined categories when assessing the size of the potential prize in this market, claimed Meyer.
Put another way, the opportunity Haugen saw in good culture was not cottage cheese, per se, but a portable high protein organic snack that taps into demand for less processed, more nutrient-dense foods.
The same applies to Muuna, which is also packaged as a single serve snack (MSRP $1.69) in packaging that would work equally well in the yogurt category, except that the brand is going for the mass market consumer, “not just the Whole Foods set,” said Meyer, a CPG veteran who has worked at brands from Sodastream to Merck, Campbell Soup, Kraft and B&G Foods.