Tre Stelle launches meat alternative made from cheese

A brand best known for bocconcini is using farmers and Andre De Grasse to debut its product in-store.


It takes like chicken, but it’s made from cheese.

Cheezmade by Tre Stelle is squarely aimed at flexitarians with what parent Arla Foods calls the first-ever meat alternative made from real cheese that offers chicken-less burgers and nuggets.

The idea is two and a half years in the making, explains Ryan Baraniuk, Arla Foods Canada head of marketing, aimed squarely at the 50% of Canadians that self-identify as flexitarian and who constitute a growing part of consumer behaviour.

Cheezmade-Tre-Stelle-“We plan on rolling out more products, and more SKUs,” Baraniuk says, part of a long-term investment by Arla, under the subbrand of Tre Stelle, which is best known for Italian cheese varieties like bocconcini and mozzarella.

Packaging is a big purchase driver, Baraniuk explains, and says it has to educate consumers around what the product is with “Nutritious. Delicious. Chicken-less” messaging amplified on pack and in shopper marketing materials.

“It’s a great, clever slogan,” Baraniuk says.

The POS campaign, running until October, features bucolic settings and farmers and “made from real cheese” verbiage. And in other materials, sprinter Andre De Grasse, who recently helped launch the product, stars. The messaging and product packagins calls out calcium and protein content, as well as strong appetite appeal, all of which are core competitive advantages.

“We really wanted to show flexitarians specifically, that they can dress this product up,” Baraniuk says.

From a branding perspective, Cheezmade is an extension of Tre Stelle, a sub-brand with a credibility factor and brand equity that comes from sixty years in the market, but which is looking to “move beyond its traditional confines.”

Tre Stelle says at the time of the product’s development, there was a lack of strong chicken products in the meat alternatives market and the competitive landscape determined bringing Chicken-Less to market.

Cheezmade by Tre Stelle is now widely available at grocery stores across Canada from Sobeys to Metro, Food Basics and FreshCo, Walmart and more, with Loblaws to follow in September.

It is doing some online sampling plays with Sobeys’ Voila and has a robust in-person sampler program. Funday worked on the creative, while packaging was done by Dentsu. Evangeline PR handled communications, Cruel the experiential, and OKD the media buy.

Above-the-line advertising, featuring De Grasse, will be in-market in the near future.