Natural cheese sales shred the rest
While processed cheese struggled, dollar and unit sales for cubed, shredded and refrigerated grated natural cheeses rose
Natural cheese continues to dominate in the cheese category. The natural cheese category showed dollar sales up 0.3% to $12.9 billion, while unit sales stayed at $3.9 billion, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 31, 2017.
Sales in the processed cheese category didn’t fare as well. Dollar sales decreased 1.9% to $2.9 billion, and unit sales were down 3.6% to 748.3 million.
Shreds, slices up
In the natural cheese shredded subcategory, dollar sales increased 1.1% to $4.8 billion, and unit sales were up 1.2% to 1.5 billion. Private label led the subcategory with $2.9 billion. Dollar sales rose 4% and unit sales climbed 4.5% to 902.3 million. Kraft brand dollar sales also improved, up 1.6%, and unit sales ticked up 0.8%. Tillamook gave the subcategory a boost, dollar sales jumped 27.1% and unit sales advanced 34.9%.
Meanwhile, several other companies struggled. Dollar sales for Sargento dropped 10.7%, and unit sales decreased 11.4%. Kraft’s Philadelphia and Velveeta brands both showed declines — dollar sales dropped 7.6% and 8.4%, and unit sales fell 9% and 6.1%, respectively. Dollar and unit sales dipped for Borden as well, down 17.6% and 17.1%, respectively.
The natural cheese slices subcategory enjoyed a 2.1% dollar sales increase to $2.2 billion, and unit sales increased 1.8% to 692.9 million. Once again, private label topped the subcategory with $925.7 million — dollar sales were up 12.5%, and unit sales jumped 10.9%. Sales also improved for both Belgioioso and Boars Head, with dollar sales up 5.9% and 4.6%, and unit sales rising 5.9% and 5.6%, respectively.
Kraft’s sales tumbled, however — dollar and unit sales were down 21.6% and 22.7%, respectively.
Though not as large of a subcategory, refrigerated grated cheese saw impressive sales gains. Dollar sales improved 5.2% to $98.5 million, and unit sales jumped 7.2% to 26.9 million. Private label again led the category, with dollar sales up 13.6% to $50.2 million, and unit sales rising 9.4% to 15.9 million.
Cheese string/stick sales split
The natural cheese string/stick subcategory’s dollar sales improved 0.2% to $1.3 billion, but unit sales dipped 1.2% to 408.8 million. Frigo Cheese Heads (Saputo Cheese) enjoyed a 5.8% increase in dollar sales, and unit sales rose 3.4%. Sargento’s dollar sales also grew, up 1.6%, with unit sales up 0.8%.
Kraft’s sales were split — dollar sales dropped 2%, while unit sales ticked up 0.2%. Meanwhile, Kraft’s Polly-O brand fared better — dollar sales jumped 6.1% and unit sales were up 5.1%.
Processed cheese sales stumble
All except two of the processed cheese subcategories saw sales declines. The aerosol/squeezable cheese spreads and cheese spreads/balls subcategories enjoyed dollar and unit sales improvements — up 0.5% and 3.1%, and 1% and 1.7%, respectively.