The Dairy Monopoly


A friend of mine visited this past weekend.  After the usual string of courtesies and kind words, he pulled from his bag a jar of Puck® Creamy cheese, the only gift I had ever asked for.  In his tongue, he pronounces it a lot like book creamy cheese.

He bought in the Middle East Market  of Toledo, Ohio. This modest place features some popular products sold on  the shelves of the Middle East, as well as a deli for halal meat, and an open restaurant for eating hummus, grape leaves, falafel, fatoush, shawarma and the like.

If you don’t know about Puck® Creamy Cheese  just know that it is the most versatile complement to anything ever.

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Do not confuse this product with cream cheese. It is a bit more custardy than that, but not sour at all. Its quite the treat. In the morning we spread it on our locally-made pita bread that we rolled up to hold a tomato-egg combination inside. The cheese acts as a glue –a delicious adhesion of divine dairy. At night we make s’mores. You know, the two graham crackers, two marshmallows, triple chocolate chip sandwiches. But for ours, we make with peanut butter and the Puck® creamy cheese.

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Please just imagine that. A juxtaposition of two condiments from other sides of the world. Perhaps this is  a symbol of the friendship I, the peanut butter, share with my Middle Eastern friend, the Puck® Creamy Cheese.

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Or not.  Peanut butter most definitely originated in the United States,  but the above metaphor does not ring true unless this delicious condiment e originated in the Middle East.  And it looks like its a product of Denmark.

But… But… why is it so popular in the Middle East? What exactly is Puck® Creamy Cheese anyway?

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“This doesn’t seem so bad….”

Through her blog post entitled Dairy in the Desert: Arla’s products in the UAE, Oman and Qatar, Eva Kolker, an intern for Arla,  says  Puck®’s Jar Cheese is the backbone of Arla’s dairy products of this type, and experiences 50% market share in the segment, as of June 2013.

After reading a few excerpts from the company’s website, I see Arla has major interest in expanding sales to the Middle East, but also caters to many other countries.

“No matter the country in which we are based, our milk will be turned into high quality products sold all over the world. And the more farmers we are, the more milk we produce, and the stronger we become together in serving the world great dairy products,”

says Åke Hantoft, farmer owner and Chairman of the Board of Directors in Arla Foods.

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Here are some fast facts from the company’s website:

  • In 2014, Arla Foods expects the milk intake from farmer owners to be approx. 11.4 billion kilo-grammes, or 92 per cent of the total expected milk intake for this year (12.4 billion kilogrammes)
  • Arla Foods has farmer owners in seven European countries: Sweden (3356), Denmark (3156), UK (2956), Germany (2763), Belgium (955), Luxembourg (236), Netherlands (52)
  • EGM Walhorn is a dairy cooperative owned by 795 milk producers in Belgium (426), Germany (317) and the Netherlands (52)
  • In 2013, Arla Foods’ worldwide sales of dairy products totalled 9.9 billion Euros
  • Arla Foods’ core markets are the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands

Is this really a Dairy Monopoly? I was taught generally to detest and divest from large business corporations and support small independent farmers. Does this mean I should in turn boycott Arla, abandon my ways, and return to the dismal life of plain s’mores? I don’t think I can go back.

Please comment with thoughts or share your Puck® Recipes.

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4 thoughts on “The Dairy Monopoly

  1. This article made me very, very hungry! I am all about trying new foods and after reading your article I would love to get my hands on Puck Creamy Cheese. I wonder if there are any other locations where I can get this, or other Middle Eastern products. Since I have started learning so much about Middle Eastern culture, I feel as if it is only right to indulge in these tasty products as well.

  2. Boy do I love cheese, there is no doubt in my mind that I could be a come a Puck addict. It is pretty impressive how many different countries consume such a large amount of this product. I wonder why? Maybe it is its versatility. I can’t help but to think how Nutella has become Americas Puck, and I don’t see Americans boycotting that anytime soon.

  3. This sounds delicious, and if you’re willing to share–maybe bring a sample to class for us to try sometime! Additionally, regarding your comments about divesting from the big corporation, here’s my piece: so long as the company treats it’s workers fairly, and animals humanely, is there any harm in supporting their product? I don’t think so. To get those answers, though, it would require some additional research. Maybe that’s an idea for your next blog post!

  4. If you think Puck is good, wait until you try Nadec! I hope it is provided at Middle East Markets in the US, because it sure is worth trying. The company, which makes products ranging from Cheese to Labneh to Milk to Yoghurt, is very popular in Gulf countries. I used to have a cheese or labneh sandwich on a daily basis back in the UAE, but here in Lebanon it isn’t that popular. You can only find it in specific markets, but it really is worth it. You guys wont understand what I’m saying until you try it.

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