Once participants complete the Master Cheesemaker program they earn the right to use the Master's Mark® on their products. The trademark distinguishes the cheese as a variety crafted by an individual who has mastered the art of cheesemaking.
Cheese companies, retailers and restaurants capitalize on Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker status in their marketing efforts, telling their unique stories and their products to expand sales opportunities.
The Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and Master's Mark "hallmark of excellence" are powerful designations that offer value to retail buyers, cheesemongers (merchants who specialize in cheese) and consumers because of the promise of quality and craftsmanship they carry. The Master's Mark is also a point of significant pride for the professionals who have completed the program.
"Distributors see the value, knowing that the program offers the assurance of quality and consistency," says Terry Lensmire, retired Agropur Dairy Cooperative master cheesemaker. "The Master's Mark is one of the things that helps drive purchase decisions because distributors know that they are buying cheese that was made right. It also reflects the respect we have for Wisconsin farmers and the high-quality milk they produce."
Adds Carl Swartz, Kroger Our Brands category strategy manager, "Kroger is proud to highlight Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers on most of our Private Selection brand cheeses in the deli. The mark conveys the craftsmanship and high quality our customers demand and is one of the reasons they shop in our stores."
Ultimately, the program equips Wisconsin cheesemakers with the knowledge and skills to compete in the national and international marketplace – a real opportunity to grow demand for Wisconsin dairy farmers' milk.