The Dutch are known for their love of preparing and consuming dairy. But they also like to buy prepared desserts and have done so for the past forty years. Since 1970, Mona has been perfecting the art of making dairy desserts or ‘toetjes’, as the Dutch call these treats, and has expanded to become the biggest dessert brand in the Netherlands. The Dutch now consume nearly 250,000 prepared desserts every day. That adds up to over 90 million a year, making them the largest dairy dessert consumers in the world. Thanks to Mona.
Mona, one of the FrieslandCampina brands in the Dutch market, made a name for itself thanks to products like semolina pudding with sweet red sauce, both in family-size and single- serving packages. This product helped inspire the Dutch taste for desserts. And, after all these years, the puddings remain a favourite of many consumers. Nearly everyone in Holland is familiar with the ‘Dessert of the Month’. And since 1993 over 150 of these desserts have been developed, culminating each year in the annual selection of the ‘Dessert of the Year’. The winning flavour is included in the product range for the next 12 months.
The early years at Mona
When Mona introduced the very first desserts back in 1970, the selection was limited: fruit yoghurt, Bulgarian yoghurt and sour cream. But the product range was quickly expanded. Mona custard was introduced in 1971, followed by the first Mona puddings in 1973: vanilla, chocolate and hopjes (coffee/caramel like flavour). Thanks to Mona, the Dutch made fewer dairy desserts themselves and began buying prepared products. The most important success factors for Mona were and still are convenience, surprise and the festive feel of the desserts. And of course they tasted good too!
Mona is not only the brains behind the new tasty desserts, but came up with the word ‘toetje’, (‘toe’ can mean ‘after’ as in after a meal) because the Dutch traditionally eat yoghurt or custard after their dinner. Advertisements featuring Ted de Braak (a Dutch celebrity) also helped (Act like a Mona ‘toetje’).