Although its growth at retail has slowed down in recent years, the natural cheese category is still gaining yardage. Dollar sales in the total category rose 1% to $12.9 billion during the 52 weeks ending Aug. 12, 2018, data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI show. Unit sales increased 1.5%.
When it comes to cheese trends with staying power for 2018, think all natural, artisanal and organic. Those are the top three cheese-related trends, according to Dairy Foods' 2018 Cheese Outlook Study.
As consumers continue to seek out food with clean ingredients, protein on the go, freshness and convenience, cheese is the answer to many of those needs. Over the last year, cheese processors have doubled down on portable snack offerings, from cheese bites to snack packs. Hybrid options (think cheese paired with lunch meats, nuts, fruit and pretzels) are popping up everywhere. Portion control and portability are the keys.
Cheese consumption continues to rise in the United States with the most recent data showing that on average, each American consumes a little over 35 pounds of cheese each year – an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Havarti, Gouda and Edam are cheese types from the Old World. But Arla is making them in Wisconsin. The CEO of the U.S. division of this European dairy co-op talks about Arla’s growth strategy here and its Cheddar cheese joint venture with Dairy Farmers of America.
The European dairy cooperative Arla Foods amba has set its sights on the United States. The strategic plan of this co-op based in Denmark states that the goal is to “excel in eight dairy categories; focus on six geographical regions and win as one united and efficient Arla.”
These are good times to be in cheese. It is a dairy food that consumers like and it can be packaged in formats that fit an on-the-go way of life. Dairy processors are investing in capacity to keep up with demand.
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.