Our heritage dates many years back, in Holland. Frico started out as a co-operation in 1898 when six Dutch dairy factories united into what was named the “Foundation of Friesian Cooperative Dairy Export Association”. Their first export was butter, followed by a selection of top quality cheeses, that soon had people asking for more.
Frico is one of the brands of Royal FrieslandCampina. Although a multinational company with many products loved all around the world, Royal FrieslandCampina still remains a cooperative of dairy cow farmers. They are both the owners and suppliers of fresh milk, and the beating heart of all our high quality products.
Frico has a long history, ever since 1898 when the first Frico cheese was born. A history full of taste and memorable moments that made Frico what it is today: the largest producer of cheese in Holland, making cheese with all the love and passion for quality just like all those years ago!
Our history is as rich as our cheeses!
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In 1898, six dairy factories got together and formed the Foundation of Friesian Cooperative Dairy Export Association. Their first product made for export was butter, under the trademark “Wheelbarrow”. It wasn’t before long, in 1908, that the Cooperative started producing Cheshire and Cheddar cheese, and soon after that, Gouda and Edam. A whole new era of passion for cheese had begun!
The 1930’s were a difficult period for the whole world. But the economic depression actually motivated the Cooperative to rebrand and adapt its positioning. By joining the first syllables of “Friesian” and “Cooperation”, the Frico brand was born and new horizons were explored in international markets. By 1936 Frico had successfully structured a network of 160 trade partners with divisions in 62 countries.
In 1931, a trade house started importing Frico cheese and butter in Japan, making the Frico mouse symbol a household emblem. The historical connection with Holland led to the building of a Dutch theme park called “House Ten Bosch” with typical Dutch features, such as windmills and a Friesian cheese farm. The theme park cheese shop drew so much attention that it developed into a successful sales point for Frico cheeses in Japan!
1940 marked Frico’s 40th anniversary but this celebration was shortly followed by another World War. The Second World War caused a lot of disruption but faith in the quality of Frico’s products ensured the company’s survival. After the war ended, Frico expanded and new world markets were found.
In 1947, a sea merchant started importing Dutch goods in Canada, like tulips, herring and Frico cheese. During the ‘50s Dutch immigrants in Canada brought with them the insatiable desire for Frico cheese, boosting demand for their homeland cheese.
This calendar features the iconic Dutch peasant girl wearing the characteristic outfit and a wheelbarrow carrying a bounty full of Frico products, like butter, cheese and milk powder.
In the 1960s, technological modernization as well as increased consumer spending, led to a peak in sales. Milk trucks replaced milk wagons, farms enlarged and the amount of supermarkets increased which, in the 1970s, led to a new way of selling cheeses –fresh from the knife at special cheese counters. From the ‘60s and on, the actual Frico name became more important in the logo and branding and the wheelbarrow image is starting to be less visible.
In response to changing shopping patterns, in March 1964, the Frico Branded Products department was set up. Frico became the brand for all traditional cheeses and the home of new branded products like Fricoletta, Fricosana and Fricodor. During this time, the Mouse image was introduced to the brand and it became an important and well-known communication vehicle for Frico world wide.
In the 1980s, a succession of mergers saw increased sales for Frico cheese. The subsequent growth meant that by 1991, the brand needed a new positioning. A cow was added to the logo with the word ‘Holland’ to signify the origin, quality and rich variety of traditional and specialty cheeses Frico produced.
In the early 1990’s, Frico entered the challenging Russian market. Initially you could only find Frico cheeses in the open markets, where Russians used to mainly buy their food from. But as soon as supermarkets opened in 1996, Frico products were available on a much larger scale. This had an immediate impact on consumption, as more people could now get their hands on the beloved Frico cheese.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Frico cheese was extremely popular with people in Egypt, Jordan and Iran. From 1998 onwards, the whole region was introduced to Frico cheeses, with targeted merchandising and point of sale material. Frico even went on to develop special cheese courses for importers and big retail stores employees in a dozen Middle Eastern countries.
The new millennium saw the introduction of sales offices in Germany, France and Spain along with a new logo, product variety and new communication for these markets. The export department was expanded, and the marketing and sales forces increased. In the following years, Frico’s brand image and positioning were refined.
Frico has repeatedly received awards of excellence for its great taste and quality. In 2004, The Frico “Old Dutch Master” was awarded a gold medal at the World Champion Cheese Contest in Wisconsin (USA).
Frico is a worldwide brand, present in more than 90 countries across the globe.
Frico remains true to its origins, providing a wide range of premium quality cheeses.
In 2017, the Frico branding was renewed and modernized to reflect the unique values of its top quality cheeses.