Category Insights: Cheese

Market Overview

  • Cheese sales in the United States grew 10 percent in the past five years to reach $23.6 billion in 2017, driven primarily by the natural cheese segment.

  • While the United States maintains the largest consumption of cheese per capita in North America, Canada is a standout performer when it comes to average value growth.

Key Issues

  • Consistent with the increasing dominance of natural cheese in the U.S. market, nearly all American adults say that they've eaten natural cheese, with most consumers indicating that they do so at least a few times a month.

  • Cheese manufacturers have focused on sustainability in new product development, with "hormone-free" being the most common ethical and environmental claim in the North American cheese category between November 2012 and October 2017.

  • 8 in 10 U.S. cheese buyers say that they eat cheese because they like the taste. To appeal to an even great number of consumers, cheese innovation is seeing a slight shift toward sweeter flavors.

  • Despite consumer interest in organic food, organic certification on cheese has a marginal impact on natural cheese sales in the United States.

What Does It Mean?

  • Cheese products placing sustainability at the center of their innovation not only appeal to consumers who care about the climate and animal well-being, but also promote higher-quality product cues.

  • While cheese's protein and calcium content help to bolster its image as a healthy food or snack, the category's most leverageable asset may be great taste.

  • Cheese marketers and retailers can give cheese lovers more ways to use cheese by introducing new varieties and flavors such as strawberry or salted caramel.


Article by Mintel in Progrssive Grocer

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