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Cheese - US - October 2011

The cheese market has not fared well in the economic downturn as consumers cut back and traded down. Total U.S. sales were down in 2009 and 2010, and a meager rebound in 2011 is likely due in part to price increases, more so than volume sales.

However, there is promise for the cheese market. Category players have been innovating and focusing efforts where they are best received by consumers. Overall, flavor innovations are showing promise, and when coupled with the versatility message could significantly encourage product use across the segments. Additionally, products that are better for you (BFY) and better for the planet (BFP) will continue to be growth leaders.

This report provides the reader with essential insights based on current market trends, industry best practices, market data including sales figures at the segment and leading company/brand level, as well as analysis of Mintel’s exclusive custom consumer survey data and Experian Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) data.

Highlights include:

  • How to better engage demographics that are not eating enough cheese, including younger adults and households with children
  • Why private label has succeeded in growing sales beyond merely the cost advantage
  • How rising food prices and commodity costs may adversely impact the market
  • Which niche brands are realizing the greatest growth and how others can hitch a ride on that success
  • How innovators are best responding to consumer trends of flavor varieties and BFY and BFP
  • How companies can best utilize relatively low-cost marketing efforts to broaden product appeal
  • Why cheese as a product is particularly sensitive to environmental concerns
  • Which cheese varieties are most used by consumers, where they purchase cheese, and what motivates them to purchase

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer data
              • Advertising clips
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Cheese sales a victim of the economy
                        • A diverse market results in varied segment results
                          • Supermarkets increase focus on private label and specialty cheese
                            • Kraft Foods the leading company, but private label dominates overall
                              • Innovators zero in on market trends
                                • Marketing efforts as distinctive as brand personalities
                                  • Today’s cheese consumer
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • “Green” cheese
                                      • Better for the planet (BFP)
                                        • Source-verified: Organic, humane, and local
                                            • Figure 1: Organic food and cheese household usage, by age, February 2010-March 2011
                                          • Vegetarian/flexitarian
                                            • Stronger flavors gain favor
                                              • Figure 2: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by age, June 2011
                                          • Inspire Insights

                                              • Trend: Guiding Choice
                                                • Trend: Snack Society
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Market sales reflect diverse nature of cheese category
                                                      • Sales and forecast of cheese
                                                        • Figure 3: Total U.S. retail sales* of cheese, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                        • Figure 4: Total U.S. retail sales of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2006-16
                                                      • Fan chart forecast
                                                        • Figure 5: Fan chart forecast of cheese, 2006-16
                                                      • Walmart sales
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • Overview
                                                          • Economic factors
                                                            • Disposable personal income limits spending
                                                              • Figure 6: Real disposable income, 2007-11*
                                                            • Consumer confidence tumbles in the face of a double-dip recession
                                                              • Figure 7: Consumer sentiment index, January 2007-July 2011
                                                              • Figure 8: Unemployment and underemployment rate, January 2007-July 2011
                                                            • Household income impacts cheese consumption
                                                              • Figure 9: Personal consumption of cheese, by household income, June 2011
                                                            • Demographics: Population growth for older generations and Hispanics
                                                              • Figure 10: Population, by age, 2006-16
                                                              • Figure 11: Population by generation, 2011
                                                              • Figure 12: Personal consumption of cheese, by age, June 2011
                                                              • Figure 13: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Global demand forces rising cheese prices
                                                                  • Figure 14: Consumer Price Indexes for all urban consumers, U.S. average (not seasonally adjusted), 2008-June 2011
                                                                • Consumers continue to cut back
                                                                  • Figure 15: Private label purchasing behavior, by household income, June 2011
                                                              • Segment Performance

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Modest sales gains in 2011 keep category in the black
                                                                    • Figure 16: Total U.S. retail sales of cheese, by segment, 2009-11
                                                                • Segment Performance—Natural Cheese

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Natural cheese rallies following sales slump
                                                                      • Sales and forecast of natural cheese
                                                                        • Figure 17: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, 2006-16
                                                                    • Segment Performance—Processed Cheese

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Processed cheese sales flat, yet opportunity exists to grow segment
                                                                          • Sales and forecast of processed cheese
                                                                            • Figure 18: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                        • Segment Performance—Cream Cheese/Cream Cheese Spread

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Cream cheese sees success via versatility
                                                                              • Sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spread
                                                                                • Figure 19: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spread, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                            • Segment Performance—Cottage Cheese

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Cottage cheese struggles to maintain its dairy snack position
                                                                                  • Sales and forecast of cottage cheese
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                                • Retail Channels

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Supermarkets dominate, growing market share and sales
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Total U.S. retail sales of cheese, by channel, 2009 and 2011
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Supermarket/food stores’ sales of cheese, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                      • Figure 23: Supercenter and warehouse club cheese sales, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                      • Figure 24: In-store deli cheese sales, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                  • Retail Channels—Natural Supermarkets

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Organic products significant boost for natural retailers
                                                                                        • Sales of spreads and dips in the natural channel
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Natural supermarket cheese sales, at current prices, 2009-11*
                                                                                          • Figure 26: Natural supermarket cheese sales, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-11*
                                                                                        • Natural channel sales by segment
                                                                                          • Figure 27: Natural supermarket cheese sales, by segment, 2009 and 2011*
                                                                                        • Brands of note
                                                                                          • Natural channel sales by organic content
                                                                                            • Figure 28: Natural supermarket cheese sales, by organic content, 2009 and 2011*
                                                                                        • Leading Companies

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Private label the leading collective, Kraft the leading brand
                                                                                              • FDMx sales of cheese by manufacturer
                                                                                                • Figure 29: Manufacturer FDMx cheese sales, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                            • Brand Share—Natural Cheese

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Private label and smaller brands see sales successes
                                                                                                  • Manufacturer and brand sales of natural cheese
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Selected FDMx brand sales of natural cheese, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                • Brand Share—Processed Cheese

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Kraft Foods’ flat sales keep segment sales in check
                                                                                                      • Manufacturer and brand sales of processed cheese
                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Selected FDMx brand sales of processed cheese, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                    • Brand Share—Cream Cheese/Cream Cheese Spread

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Kraft dominates and grows segment with promotional efforts
                                                                                                          • Manufacturer and brand sales of cream cheese/cream cheese spread
                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Selected FDMx brand sales of cream cheese/cream cheese spread, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                        • Brand Share—Cottage Cheese

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Private label holds a commanding share of cottage cheese
                                                                                                              • Manufacturer and brand sales of cottage cheese
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Selected FDMx brand sales of cottage cheese, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Launches down during the recession
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Cheese product launches, by subcategory, 2007-11
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Cheese product launches, by top claims, 2007-11
                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Cheese product launches, by top companies/brands, 2007-11
                                                                                                                • Product innovations
                                                                                                                  • Private label continues BFY push
                                                                                                                    • Organic releases reflect recognition of sales growth
                                                                                                                      • Added flavors and variety blends up the Hispanic appeal
                                                                                                                        • Vegetarian products gain appeal
                                                                                                                          • String cheese broadens appeal
                                                                                                                          • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                                                              • Brand analysis: Kraft
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Kraft Shredded Naturals television ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                • Partnership with TerraCycle
                                                                                                                                  • Kraft Touch of Philadelphia
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Brand analysis of Kraft Touch of Philadelphia, 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Kraft/Touch of Philadelphia television ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Brand analysis: Tillamook
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Brand analysis of Tillamook, 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Tillamook television ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Tillamook television ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Brand analysis: Sargento Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Brand analysis of Sargento, 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Sargento Artisan Blends television ad, 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Sargento Slices television ad, 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Promotional efforts can help to reach younger consumers
                                                                                                                                    • Sampling
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Social media
                                                                                                                                    • Household Usage

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Cooking cheese use on the rise
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Household consumption of cheese, February 2010 and June 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Household consumption of cheese, June 2011
                                                                                                                                        • Kids’ usage of cheese
                                                                                                                                          • Cheese purchasing for kids in household
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Cheese purchasing for kids in household, by age and household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Kids’ usage of cheese
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Kids’ cheese usage, by age, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Household usage, by cheese type
                                                                                                                                            • American cheese
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 51: American cheese household usage, by household income, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Natural or imported cheese
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Natural or imported cheese household usage, by household income, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Cream cheese
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Cream cheese household usage, by household income, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Cottage cheese
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Cottage cheese household usage, by age, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Spread cheese
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Spread cheese household usage, by household income, February 2010-March 2011
                                                                                                                                          • Popular Cheese Consumption

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Cheddar and mozzarella remain the favorites
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Popular cheese consumption, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Popular cheese consumption, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Popular cheese consumption, by region, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Consumption Occasions

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Sandwiches, cooking, and with crackers/bread top cheese uses
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Cheese consumption occasions, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Cheese consumption occasions, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Factors That Matter to Cheese Buyers

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Type of cheese leading factor but shifting trends are evident
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by gender, February 2010 and June 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Purchase Occasions for Cheese, By Form

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Slices most popular, followed by shredded
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Purchase occasions for cheese, by form, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Purchase occasions for cheese, by form, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Purchase occasions for cheese, by form, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Retail Purchasing and Private Labels

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Outlets where consumers buy cheese
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Outlets where consumers buy cheese, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Outlets where consumers buy cheese, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Private label purchasing behavior
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Private label purchasing behavior, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Purchasing Occasions and Attitudes

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • In-store sampling drives new variety trial
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Personal consumption of cheese
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 72: Personal consumption of cheese, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Popular cheese consumption
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 73: Popular cheese consumption, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Factors that matter to cheese buyers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Purchase occasions for cheese, by form
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 75: Purchase occasions for cheese, by form, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Retail purchasing
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Outlets where consumers buy cheese, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Purchasing occasions and attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • Personal consumption
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Personal consumption of cheese, by gender and age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                      • Popular cheese consumption
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: Popular cheese consumption, by gender and age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumption occasions
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 80: Cheese consumption occasions, by gender and age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Factors that matter to cheese buyers
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 81: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by gender and age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Cheese purchasing occasions and attitudes, by gender and age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                        • SymphonyIRI/Builders—Key Household Purchase Measures

                                                                                                                                                                          • Natural cheese
                                                                                                                                                                            • Overview of natural cheese
                                                                                                                                                                              • Natural shredded cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—natural shredded cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 83: Brand map, selected brands of natural shredded cheese buying rate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Key purchase measures for the top brands of natural shredded cheese, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Natural cheese chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—natural cheese chunks
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 85: Brand map, selected brands of natural cheese chunks buying rate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 86: Key purchase measures for the top brands of natural cheese chunks, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Natural cheese slices
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—natural cheese slices
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Brand map, selected brands of natural cheese slices buying rate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Key purchase measures for the top brands of natural cheese slices, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Processed cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Overview of processed cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Processed/imitation cheese slices
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—processed/imitation cheese slices
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 89: Brand map, selected brands of processed/imitation cheese slices buying rate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 90: Key purchase measures for the top brands of processed/ imitation cheese slices, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cheese spreads/balls
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—cheese spreads/balls
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Brand map, selected brands of cheese spreads/balls buying rate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Key purchase measures for the top brands of cheese spreads/balls, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Personal consumption of cheese, by gender, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Popular cheese consumption, by gender, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Cheese consumption occasions, by gender, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Cheese consumption occasions, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Factors that matter to cheese buyers, by gender, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Outlets where consumers buy cheese, by age, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Outlets where consumers buy cheese, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 100: Private label purchasing behavior, by household income, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 101: Private label purchasing behavior, by race/Hispanic origin, June 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Albertsons Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • American Cheese Society
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Applegate Farms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bel/Kaukauna USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • BelGioioso Cheese, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cheese Importers Association of America
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Costco Wholesale Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Crowley Foods LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dean Foods Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Finlandia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Groupe Danone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Horizon Organic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • International Dairy Foods Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Irish Dairy Board Co-operative Ltd. [Kerrygold]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kemps LLC
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kmart Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Land O'Lakes Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • National Cheese Institute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • National Institutes of Health
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • National Public Radio Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Netflix, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Organic Trade Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Organic Valley Family of Farms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Publix Super Markets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • R.W. Knudsen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rondele Acquisition Llc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Roundy's, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • SAM's Club
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sargento Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Six Flags, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Conference Board
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Kroger Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Tillamook County Creamery Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • US Department of Commerce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • US Department of Labor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Volkswagen of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Winn-Dixie Stores

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cheese - US - October 2011

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