All dressed up in a new label, Borden® individually wrapped cheese slices are heading south of the border — creating a new outlet for milk produced by Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. members.

American Dairy Brands (ADB), a division of DFA that markets and retails the DFA-owned Borden cheese brand, is introducing five Spanish-labeled products to consumers in Mexico: Borden Swiss Slices; two sizes of Borden American Slices, KidBuilder™ and Sandwich Mate American™.

Mark Korsmeyer, president of DFA’s Dairy Food Products division, which oversees ADB and Borden cheese, says that Mexico has long been seen as a potential market for Borden cheese. According to Korsmeyer, Borden is well-known for its milk and ice cream products in Mexico.  “This brand awareness adds continued confidence in our ADB team effort to establish our Borden brand cheese products in the international arena,” he adds.

“The market in Mexico represents an exciting opportunity for the Borden cheese brand,” agrees John Metzger, director of specialty sales for ADB. “Outside the United States, Mexico has one of the world’s highest per capita cheese consumption. We have high expectations for our sales goals in the Mexican marketplace.”

Before deciding to launch the products, about a dozen Borden natural cheese items labeled in English were test-marketed in the free trade zone in Tijuana, Mexico. “This test gave us a feel for the marketplace,” Metzger says. “Our brand received positive consumer feedback indicating that Mexican consumers recognize and connect with Borden and Elsie (the company’s mascot) as a high quality U.S. brand.”

The biggest competition for the expansion venture comes from Kraft Foods, Inc., which operates manufacturing plants in Mexico. “We plan to merchandise our brand in retail stores side-by-side with Kraft at a price point equal to, or slightly less than, theirs — which is similar to our U.S. strategy,” says Metzger.

The first Spanish-label product shipment took place in mid-October and was distributed by Sana International, a Mexico-based distributor, to retailers such as Calimax, OXXO, Comercial Mexicana and other Tijuana area (free trade zone) retailers. All of these retailers supported the test marketing of Borden products during the past year. The distributor recently expanded the Borden cheese sales and distribution focus to Mexico City and Monterey.

Metzger hopes later to introduce Borden shreds and chunks in Mexico and eventually to become a full-line, branded cheese supplier there.

“American Dairy Brands is committed for the long haul to building our Borden cheese brand with consumers in Mexico,” Metzger says. “It is not going to be an easy task. However, we are up for all the challenges.”

DFA press release