Tnuva in the 1920s (Photo: Tnuva Archive)
Michal Betzer, Director of Marketing, Dairy Division, Tnuva:• History:
Tnuva's foundations were laid in 1926, when representatives of 13 farms recognized the need to establish an independent organization to market their produce. Today, Tnuva employs 6,000 people from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, and has been owned by China's Bright Food since May 2014 together with the kibbutzim that established the company nearly 100 years ago. Tnuva's dairy products are produced in Rehovot, Alon Tavor, Tel Yosef, Harduf and Kiryat Malachi. Alongside the dairies, the Tnuva Alternative factory produces milk substitute products, and Alternative Gilboa produces tofu.
Michal Betzer, Marketing Manager, Dairy Division, Tnuva (Photo: Rami Zarenger)
Tnuva processes about 900 million liters of milk a year, markets 4 million products to stores every day. On peak holiday days, 7 million products are reached. "The history of the company is interwoven throughout the history of the state from before the establishment of the state to the present day," says Michal Betzer, Director of Marketing Division, Dairy Division, Tnuva. "Throughout the years of its existence, Tnuva has played national roles in organizing the proper supply of essential food to the civilian population and the IDF. On the eve of the declaration of the state and during the War of Independence, Tnuva responded to David Ben-Gurion's request and transported convoys loaded with agricultural produce to besieged and starving Jerusalem. Tnuva trucks followed the IDF in all areas of the fighting, and many drivers were injured. During the Six-Day War, a filling machine for chocolate milk bags, which was introduced into the Tel Aviv Dairy at the time, became a filling machine for water bags sent to the southern front. After the war, then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan awarded Tnuva the Six-Day War Medal."
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Tnuva Cottage. The dairy's iconic product (Photo: Tnuva PR)
• Iconic products: "In 1942, named after the Jezreel Valley where the dairy was located, the 'Emek' brand known for its yellow cheese was born. In 1962, the cottage was born by the late Israel Stauber, who was the dairy's deputy manager. He was sent to the United States to study quality control and was first exposed to the cottage. When he returned to Israel, he prepared an experimental cottage and presented it at a board meeting. After a series of experiments and tastings, they reached the perfect texture, one that balances the soft texture with the grainy. The first cottage was marketed in cardboard packaging designed by the brothers Gabriel and Maxim Shamir, who designed, among other things, the state emblem. These two products have become part of Israeli culture and not just consumption."
"There was a launch at the time where we turned white cheese into dips that are recommended to eat with crackers and introduced interesting flavors, such as curry and chutney. People were enthusiastic about the idea but didn't really connect with the taste. Also, in the past there was an attempt to produce cottage cheese with smaller granules that is convenient to apply so that the grains do not fall off the slice, but this product did not succeed. Throughout the years, Israelis preferred the classic cottage."
Tnuva Dairy, Alon HaTavor (Photo: Tnuva PR)
Challenges: "We are constantly following trends both in the world and in Israel. In fact, the big challenge is identifying future growth engines and not just diversification. For example, the protein world has given rise to a new category. The GO brand brings a rich sports diet in a wide range of categories, such as yogurts, beverages and even vegan products. Another example is identifying an audience of senior citizens, an audience with a unique need. For it, we developed a new segment under Tnuva Gold and launched enriched yogurts. You can also mention coffee cups, a strong global trend of ready-to-drink coffee. In Israel, too, this is a growing segment. We entered this market last year with fresh products on the shelf."
• Dairy substitutes: "We recognized this trend way back in 2003, when we also launched fresh drinks in the refrigerator. Today we continue to develop this market with different types of raw materials and offer more and more segments and solutions."
• New launches: "Ahead of Shavuot we expanded the Collection and Piraeus series with a slice of Manchego, sheep feta flakes and Halloumi. At the Alternative brand, we launched Oatmeal Light 1L, a low-fat drink with a delicate taste. In the summer, we will start the beverage season with the relaunch of the Smoothies Yoplait Fruit Smoothie, expanding the coffee series with new flavors and coffee smoothies. There will also be iced coffee solutions in the 'alternative' for those who do not want to consume milk."
Strauss Dairies in the 20s (Photo: Strauss Archive)
Liraz Sufrin, Marketing Manager at Strauss Dairies:• History:
Strauss Dairy began its journey in 1936 on a small family dairy farm established by Hilda and Dr. Richard Strauss in Nahariya after immigrating from Germany. In 1939, the family decided to close the barn and build a dairy in their yard instead. The first products were handmade cheeses. Today, Strauss's dairy is located in the Bar-Lev industrial zone near Ahihud and produces 135 different products in a variety of categories (yogurts, delicacies, cheeses) from about 130 million liters of milk a year. "Over the years, the history of Strauss and the state have been intertwined, both in terms of the development of the state on the one hand and in terms of Strauss's development as a dairy. The story of the Strauss family is the story of the country, a story that represents Zionism, a Zionist industry," says Liraz Sufrin, marketing manager at Strauss Dairies. "In 1948, during the War of Independence, production at the dairy did not stop even though there was a siege on the Western Galilee, which forced the Strauss family to be very resourceful in terms of how to continue production and supply of products to the residents of the area. 25 years ago, a partnership was formed between Strauss and Yotvata Dairy in the Arava, which also has a pioneering Zionist story of the flowering of the wilderness. In the 70s, Strauss's connection to Danone began and the establishment of the yogurt category in Israel."
Liraz Sufrin, Marketing Manager at Strauss Dairies (Photo: Lior Nordman)
• Iconic products: "In 1979, Milky was launched, leading the delicacy market almost since it was born. The unique combination of chocolate and whipped cream captivated Israelis. Classic Milky Chocolate is the leading product, and alongside it has developed a wide range of Milky products. Daniella, which was launched in 1983, is also a brand that has been on the shelf for several decades, with vanilla flavor leading the way."
"At the time, we launched Symphony cheese flavored with strawberry and hot chili. Consumers were less connected to taste."
Milky Strauss (Photo: Strauss Studio)
• Challenges: "The dairy produces a very wide range of products on the axis between functional health and pampering, and provides a response to a very wide range of needs, consumer motivations, and various target audiences. We closely follow trends and trends in the global food world and try to identify those trends and trends that can suit consumers in Israel. The biggest challenge for me is always to be relevant and attractive. We have a large development team with a lot of experience and knowledge that really helps with this. An example of this is the world of protein expressed in Danone PRO products. Danone MULTI is a yogurt developed especially for the elderly. All types of consumers are constantly looking for the next thrill. Also, if in the past the Israeli taste was more conservative, then the openness today is very great."
Strauss Dairy (Photo: Inbal Marmari)
• Milk substitutes: "The audience of milk substitutes is growing all the time. We entered this category a few years ago with the Alfaro brand. We also distribute Alfaro products and manufacture some of them in Israel. At the time, we launched unique series, including the product This is M*LK, which is similar in taste to milk. About two months ago, we also launched chilled Alfaro milk substitute drinks. We are building a large factory next to the dairy in Ahihud with the aim that all Alfaro products will be manufactured there."
New launches: "We just launched Milky TRIO with three indulgent layers of pudding, mousse and whipped cream. The series has two flavors: a milk delicacy with layers of dark chocolate flavor, chocolate mousse, and whipped cream; and a layered milk delicacy flavored with white chocolate, strawberry flavored mousse and whipped cream. At the Symphony cheese brand, we've expanded the 5% fat line to 9% in Garlic & Herbs and Natural flavors. In Yotvata, we launched MOOSH - a cold smoothie series in three flavors."
Terra in the 30s (Photo: Central Company PR)
Tal Vazna, CEO of Tara:
• History: The story of Tara Dairy begins with seven dairy farming families from the Nahalat Yitzhak neighborhood, who joined together in the 30s, during the British Mandate, and established cowsheds. The milk they milked by hand was sold daily to Tel Aviv residents.
Over the years, the dairy has developed and expanded its production and distribution capabilities. In 2004, it was bought by the Central Company for the Production of Soft Drinks. In 2008, it received a franchise for the Müller brand activity in Israel. Today the dairy is located in the NAM Industrial Park near Netivot. Terra receives raw milk from over 100 cowsheds. In 2022, it absorbed about 280 million liters of raw milk. "During the Gulf War, Tara Dairy in Nahalat Yitzhak was at the forefront against the missiles that were rained down on Tel Aviv," says Tal Vazna, CEO of Tara. "Terra trained protected and sealed spaces for the workers, and the work continued in full swing despite a shortage of workers and problems with the arrival of milk tankers. About 10 years ago, Tara Dairy made the transition from the old dairy in Nahalat Yitzhak to the new dairy in Na'am Park in Netivot. Today, we are proud to be one of the leading employers in the Negev with over 500 employees in Netivot. The western Negev region also places Tara in the line of fire, and activity continues in full force in times of war as in normal times."
Tasteful cheese, Tara (Photo: Central Company PR)
• Iconic products: "'Tasteful' cheese that came on the market in the early 60s. This is a favorite white cheese, excellent for cooking and baking that is suitable for sweet and savory pastries.
Also, the Mueller brand's yogurt series, led by Froop, is very loved."
"In 2018, we launched two white products with strawberry flavor and grape flavor. The products were not adopted by consumers and went off the shelf in less than five months."
Tal Vezna, CEO of Tara (Photo: Central Company PR)
• Challenges: "The main raw material of any dairy is raw milk. Agricultural, sensitive raw material that must reach maximum speed for processing and treatment. The composition of milk changes frequently and requires adjustment of production processes. Development processes of dairy products can take months and sometimes even longer. The challenge is to identify the consumer need, develop the perfect product and bring it to market when the need is still relevant. This requires us to be as precise and agile as possible. Innovation is a significant growth engine in the food market, and the Israeli consumer expects to receive new products. Over the years, we have brought a series of groundbreaking innovations, such as the introduction of milk in a carton with a cork in the 90s, the launch of the 'Noam' series of yellow cheeses without preservatives, and in 2015 we launched milk drinks without added sugar.
It should be noted that the dairy market has undergone unprecedented upheavals in the past two years. The prices of imported food, the Russia-Ukraine war and the overall increase in the cost of inputs pose a huge business challenge for all those involved in the field."
Tara Dairy (Photo: Central Company PR)
• Dairy substitutes: "We are aware of the development of the category over the past decade. Tara Dairy markets a variety of products in the category: soy and almond drinks, spreadable soy cheeses and tofu cheese."
• New launches: "In recent months we have been in the midst of a rebranding process for the Terra brand, including updating the appearance of the packaging to light blue. Ahead of Shavuot, we launched a series of cream sauces at Tara: mushrooms, four cheeses and beets. Under the Tzuriel Farm brand, we launched a series of naturally flavored goat cream cheeses, dill garlic and jalapeños, and goat's milk truffle butter."