Category Insights: Cheese

Market Overview

The United States is the standout growth market in the North American cheese category, with an average value growth of 3.5 percent over the past five years.

Household penetration of natural cheeses in the United States is at a peak: 90 percent of U.S. adults indicated that they've eaten natural cheese in the past three months.

Key Issues

U.S. manufacturers are increasingly catering to the demands of Millennials, who are high users of cheese.

While taste and price are top priorities for cheese purchases of all ages, cheese selection for younger shoppers is likely to be focused on organic varieties. U.S. cheese manufacturers have been prompt to respond to Millennials' appetite for organic cheese: Innovation in the natural/organic cheese segment has increased from 1.5 percent of launches in 2012 to 10 percent in 2015.

Protein content is the secondary consideration that U.S. Millennials would be influenced by when purchasing natural cheese over another kind. However, cheese positioned as being high in protein is still an untapped opportunity in the United States, with only 1 percent of the total new product launches in the last 12 months to September 2016 featuring a "high protein" claim.

What Does it Mean?

As Millennial consumers aspire to live a healthier lifestyle, they seek what they perceive as being better for them: organic cheese, but also nondairy cheese. Cheese brands thus have room to reinforce their health messages, particularly in comparison with dairy-free varieties.

– Article by Progressive Grocer, April 2017

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