Processed cheese sales have been declining at retail for years as health-conscious grocery shoppers perceive that “processed” means unnatural and thus unhealthy. The category shrank 3.7% in dollar sales to $2.8 billion and 4.1% in unit sales to 737.8 million, according to according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 27, 2019.
But it isn’t all good news for natural cheese, either. The category grew only 1.1% in dollar sales (to $13.0 billion) and 2.5% in unit sales (to 3.9 billion). According to “Cheese US, September 2018,” a report from global market research firm Mintel, sales in the cheese category have barely grown since 2015, “demonstrating a large but relatively stagnant category in need of expanding its usage.”