The Biery Cheese Co. knows that fact well. The company has received numerous awards for its products and continues to innovate by creating new flavors for a classic product: cheese.
"We have 18 varieties of flavor cheeses, which would be things like hot pepper, cheese and onion, cheese and pepperoni, and garden spicy," says Dennis Biery, the company's president. "We added cheese and horseradish last year."
The company was founded in 1929 by Biery's grandfather, and at the time, it had one product: Swiss cheese wheels. But times have changed, and so has the company. Biery now has 60 varieties of cheese and more than 600 individual product items which are sold to more than 350 customers in all 50 states.
"Besides the flavor cheeses, we manufacture processed cheeses like American cheese," says Biery. "We supply to a mix of retail stores and food service distributors which deliver to the restaurant trade. Our business is probably 60 percent retail and 40 percent food service."
Providing a good product mix and innovative new flavors is only part of the battle in the crowded cheese industry.
"The other part of our business is packaging," says Biery. "The largest part of that is doing private-label packaging for stores. In that end of the business, the sliced-shingle product is the highest volume. It's pre-packaged slices in a resealable bag for the food service trades."
Restaurants want a product that doesn't vary in taste or weight so that every customer receives food that is consistent each time it is ordered.
"There is also a consumer demand for pre-sliced cheese, as well as in delis," says Biery.
The key is to offer all the varieties a customer may want in the form they need it: bulk pack, pre-sliced, portion-controlled slices or in resealable packages.
With a broad product line, Biery can focus on flavor, an area in which the company excels.
In 2003, it took two medals in the United States Cheese Makers Contest -- a gold for its colored American cheese and a silver for Biery hot pepper cheese. In the World Cheese Contest, the company brought home three medals -- a gold for its white American cheese, a gold for its hot pepper and a bronze for its cheddar and horseradish.
"We've done very well in the competitions," says Biery. "In the world competition, there are entries from everywhere. There were entries from 26 countries. These are some of the best cheesemakers in the world."
While Biery doesn't export directly, some of its distributors sell to Canada and Puerto Rico.
The popularity of the company's cheese in the United States has led to increased growth. It saw sales rise more than 20 percent in 2003, and as a result, expanded its facility. It is in the process of installing more than $3 million in new equipment and facilities.
"We remodeled three of our existing rooms and built two new ones," says Biery. "We are in the third phase and are adding a 30,000-square-foot cooler and expanding our production lines. We have already added two additional production lines, and once we get the cooler done, will add two more.
"The expansion will give us an additional 10 million pounds of capacity per year. We make about 30 million pounds per year now," he says.
The company has added 45 jobs and expects to add 20 more when the expansion is complete.
"We are focused on a superior product, superior service and competitive prices," says Biery. "Those are our three bullets of service. Our success has been an effort of three generations, and my son has been in the business since 1992, so now four generations. It wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of four generations of great employees." How to reach: Biery Cheese Co., (330) 875-3381