Consumers love their cheese and are clear about what they want. It has to be easy to eat, portable, available in a variety of flavors and all-natural. These are the dominant themes from almost every cheese processor we spoke with. Convenience, flavor innovation, authenticity and freshness are key factors that will drive consumer cheese purchases, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Madison.
Latin American cheese production in the United States has seen substantial growth over the last decade. Driven by the increase in the Hispanic population in the United States, which is now over 55 million, as well as increased consumer interest in specialty cheese, production has increased from around 167 million pounds 10 years ago to around 254 million pounds in 2015.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va., is supporting an ad-hoc coalition of 16 dairy companies and organizations fighting a plan to further restrict U.S. access to the tight Canadian cheese market.
Natural cheese is still the clear winner for cheese processors, while snacking occasions are on the rise. Plus, consumers’ interest in unique flavors helps fuel the artisan cheese movement and inspires other processors to create more bold combinations.