There’s a timeless classic sweet, that has captured the heart of most Hungarians. Small ones and grown-ups alike, everybody knows and loves it. This sweet is none other than the Pöttyös Túró Rudi, which has been an integral part of the Hungarian life. This tasty treat was created roughly a lifetime ago and has been a national success story ever since.
A legend is made
In the 60’s a group of dairy specialists went on a visit to Moscow, where they discovered syrok, which is widely regarded as the forebear of the Túró Rudi. Once home, they started developing their own version. At the end of the initial testing period, they created a new product, but they couldn’t settle on a name. According to the group, they asked Sándor Klein for help. He came up with one, which upset the papers so much that they outright refused to advertise the product altogether. The scandalous name, you must have guessed it, is Túró Rudi. ‘Túró‘ stands for curd while ‘Rudi’ means small bar (or the nickname of Rudolf).
The final product, which did end up bearing the name ‘Túró Rudi’ featured sweet notes that came down to a slightly lemon-flavoured cottage cheese enveloped in a dark chocolate coating. Despite the lack of advertising, the product was a massive hit.
So much so that it quickly became a constant shortage item in shops. A noteworthy accomplishment even in an era characterised by shortages. To meet escalating demand, Túró Rudi relocated its operations to a larger facility in Mátészalka.
Demands were soaring, even though Túró Rudi used to have an extremely short shelf life of three days back in the day. In fact, it was even shorter since one out of the three days was spent in logistics. The company made its utmost to catch up with the demand.
Innovation is key
At the beginning of production, only one flavour existed. Still people flocked to the shops to get their hands on it.
However, the product had to undergo some important changes to keep up with customer trends. These changes came to pass, for example, as a longer shelf life, which lasted up to 14 days. In the 80s, the brand evolved to produce Túró Rudi in three separate factories, not only supplying the country but also delivering to the West.
The changes and the success story of Túró Rudi didn’t stop there. The company started experimenting with new products a well as flavours. Shortly, people with a sweet tooth could choose from hazelnut, strawberry and apricot varieties in the supermarkets.
Despite numerous attempts by rival companies to emulate the original Túró Rudi, none endured. Variously named Robi, with honey or walnut flavours, and even a vitamin-enriched version, these imitations weren’t long-lasting. Beyond Hungary’s borders, there are several other versions of the Pöttyös product. For example, the Austrians have Dots, that is widely known to be based on the Hungarian sweet. However, everybody knows that “Pöttyös az igazi”, which is the slogan of the Hungarian company, meaning that there is but one true Pöttyös.
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