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Cheese - US - October 2014

“Cheese remains a popular food for its versatility, nutritional benefits, and variety of flavors and formats. While the general category trend is toward natural cheeses, and consumers still have concerns about the nutritional value of processed cheese, they still are eating it and sales have not suffered terribly.”
– Amanda Topper, Food Analyst

 

This report answers the following question: 

  • What are consumer perceptions of processed cheese?
  • What do consumers value when purchasing cheese?
  • What innovation opportunities are there?
The cheese category continues to experience moderate year-over-year growth due to interest in natural cheeses and its high-quality ingredients, affordability, and variety. The nutritional value of processed cheeses remain an issue for the category, though sales are not declining drastically, and many still eat it knowing it’s not good for them. Increased snacking occasions, interest in protein, and natural and gourmet cheeses should continue to drive market growth.
 
The consumer:
 
  • Affordability, ingredients top reasons for buying cheese.
  • Many purchase several cheeses together.
 
The quality and variety of cheese offerings within retail channels also are improving and thus exposing new audiences to cheeses, especially craft, local, and imported cheeses.
Americans remain concerned about the unnatural state of processed cheeses and some avoid it altogether; however, the segment still represents a sizeable portion of the overall cheese category, and consumers are still eating it knowing there are healthier cheese options.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

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

                    • The market
                      • Cheese sales forecast to reach $26.5 billion in 2019
                        • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2009-19
                      • Sales increase 5%, though processed cheese is on the decline
                        • Figure 2: Total US retail sales of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2012 and 2014
                      • Health, snacking, and global influences impact the market
                        • Key players
                          • Kraft dominates category, private label brands collectively account for largest market share
                            • Figure 3: MULO sales of cheese, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2014
                            • Figure 4: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2012-14
                          • The consumer
                            • Affordability, ingredients top reasons for buying cheese
                              • Figure 5: Reasons for buying cheese – Any rank, Top five, July 2014
                            • Many purchase several cheeses together
                              • Figure 6: Cheese-related behaviors, Top five, July 2014
                            • Youngest generation most price conscious but also most willing to pay for quality
                              • Figure 7: Attitudes toward natural cheese, Top five, July 2014
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                                • What are consumer perceptions of processed cheese?
                                  • Issues
                                    • Insight: They have nutritional concerns but sales are not being severely impacted
                                      • What do consumers value when purchasing cheese?
                                        • Issues
                                          • Insight: Brand, flavor, and packaging are most important
                                            • What innovation opportunities are there?
                                              • Issues
                                                • Insight: Consumers are willing to pay more for quality and value nutrition
                                                • Trend Applications

                                                    • Trend: Locavore
                                                      • Trend: Minimize Me
                                                        • Trend: Non-standard Society
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Sales and forecast of cheese
                                                              • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                              • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2009-19
                                                            • Cheese sales forecast to reach $26.5 billion in 2019
                                                              • Figure 10: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2009-19
                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                            • Market Drivers

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Health and interest in protein
                                                                  • Figure 11: Percent of people aged 20 or older who are healthy weight, overweight, or obese, 2001-12
                                                                • Worldly influences
                                                                  • The snacking mentality
                                                                  • Competitive Context

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Other high-protein foods
                                                                        • Foodservice menu items containing cheese
                                                                          • Figure 12: Menu item dishes containing cheese, Top 10, Q2 2011-Q2 2014
                                                                          • Figure 13: Menu item cheese brands, Top 10, Q2 2011-Q2 2014
                                                                      • Segment Performance

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Sales increase 5%, though processed cheese sales decline slightly
                                                                            • Sales of cheese, by segment
                                                                              • Figure 14: Total US retail sales of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2012 and 2014
                                                                            • Natural cheese segment continues steady growth
                                                                              • Sales and forecast of natural cheese
                                                                                • Figure 15: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                              • Processed cheese sales remain fairly flat
                                                                                • Sales and forecast of processed cheese
                                                                                  • Figure 16: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                                • Cream cheese/cream cheese spreads sales increase 14% from 2009-14
                                                                                  • Figure 17: Household cream cheese usage, by presence of children in household, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                • Sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads
                                                                                  • Figure 18: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cheese spreads at current prices, 2009-19
                                                                              • Retail Channels

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Supermarket cheese sales represent nearly two thirds of the market
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Cheese retail locations, July 2014
                                                                                  • Sales of cheese, by channel
                                                                                    • Figure 20: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2012-14
                                                                                  • Supermarket cheese sales grow 12% from 2009-14
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2009-14
                                                                                • Leading Companies

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Kraft dominates category, private label brands collectively account for largest market share
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Sargento, “New Sargento Tastings,” TV Ad, June 2014
                                                                                    • Manufacturer sales of cheese
                                                                                      • Figure 23: MULO sales of cheese, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                  • Brand Share – Natural Cheese

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Natural cheeses and private label cheese continue to dominate the market
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Athenos, “More Ways To Feta: Greek Omelet,” YouTube Video, May 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 25: Sargento, “Sargento 100% Real, Natural Cheese Slices,” TV Ad, June 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Lactalis, “Italian Mozzatini,” YouTube Video, June 2014
                                                                                      • Manufacturer sales of natural cheese
                                                                                        • Figure 27: MULO sales of natural cheese, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                      • 78% of all households purchase shredded cheese; private label leads in key measures
                                                                                        • Figure 28: Key purchase measures for the top natural cheese brands, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 30, 2012 (year ago) and Dec. 29, 2013 (current)
                                                                                    • Brand Share – Processed Cheese

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Kraft Singles’ reformulation not enough to improve sales
                                                                                          • Figure 29: Kraft Singles, “Make Something Amazing,” TV Ad, February 2014
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Velveeta, Tumblr Account
                                                                                          • Figure 31: Laughing Cow, “Reinvent Snacking,” TV Ad, August 2014
                                                                                        • Manufacturer sales of processed cheese
                                                                                          • Figure 32: MULO sales of processed cheese, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                        • Processed cheese declines across key measures
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Key purchase measures for the top processed cheese brands, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 30, 2012 (year ago) and Dec. 29, 2013 (current)
                                                                                      • Brand Share – Cream Cheese/Cream Cheese Spreads

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Protein and flavor drive segment growth
                                                                                            • Figure 34: Philadelphia Cream Cheese, “From Farm to Fridge in 6 Days,” April 2014
                                                                                          • Manufacturer sales of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads
                                                                                            • Figure 35: MULO sales of cream cheese/cheese spreads, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2013 and 2014
                                                                                          • Bricks remain the most popular cream cheese format
                                                                                            • Figure 36: Key purchase measures for the top cream cheese/cream cheese spread cheese brands, by household penetration, 52 weeks ending Dec. 30, 2012 (year ago) and Dec. 29, 2013 (current)
                                                                                        • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                          • Products with new packaging grow more than 50% from 2009-14
                                                                                            • Figure 37: Cheese product launches, by subcategory, 2009-14*
                                                                                            • Figure 38: Cheese product launches, by launch type, 2009-14*
                                                                                          • All top-10 product claims grow
                                                                                            • Figure 39: Cheese product launches, by top 10 claims, 2009-14*
                                                                                          • Kraft leads in cheese product launches
                                                                                              • Figure 40: Cheese product launches, by top 10 companies, 2009-14*
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Cheese product launches, by private label, 2009-14*
                                                                                            • Adding a unique twist to traditional cheeses
                                                                                            • Social Media

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Market overview
                                                                                                    • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Key social media metrics, September 2014
                                                                                                    • Brand usage and awareness
                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Brand usage and awareness for select cheese brands, July 2014
                                                                                                    • Interactions with cheese brands
                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Interactions with select cheese brands, July 2014
                                                                                                    • Leading online campaigns
                                                                                                      • Blogger outreach
                                                                                                        • User-generated content
                                                                                                          • A push for snacking
                                                                                                            • What we think
                                                                                                              • Online conversations
                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Share of voice among select cheese brands, by week, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                              • Where are people talking about cheese brands?
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Share of voice among select cheese brands, by page type, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                              • What are people talking about?
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Topics of conversation among select cheese brands, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                            • Personal Cheese Consumption

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Some 92% of Americans eat cheese
                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Personal cheese consumption, by age, July 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Household cream cheese usage, February 2008-March 2014
                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Household cream cheese usage by type, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                                                • Adults in households with children eat cheese more frequently
                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Personal cheese consumption, by presence of children in household, July 2014
                                                                                                              • Reasons for Buying Cheese

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Practical reasons rank highest
                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Reasons for buying cheese – Any rank, by gender, July 2014
                                                                                                                  • Snacking, cooking purchase drivers for younger consumers
                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Reasons for buying cheese – Any rank, by age, July 2014
                                                                                                                • Cheese — Related Behaviors

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Many purchase several cheeses together
                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Cheese-related behaviors, by presence of children in household, July 2014
                                                                                                                  • Important Factors When Purchasing Natural Cheese

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Brand, flavor, packaging most important factors
                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Important factors when purchasing natural cheese, by age, July 2014
                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Household natural and imported cheese consumption by type, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes toward Natural Cheese

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Youngest generation most price conscious but also most willing to pay for quality
                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Attitudes toward natural cheese, by generations, July 2014
                                                                                                                      • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Hispanics more likely to eat natural and processed cheeses frequently
                                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Personal cheese consumption, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Reasons for buying cheese – Any rank, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                          • Hispanics more likely to shop for cheeses in convenience stores
                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Cheese retail locations – Natural cheese, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Cheese retail locations – Processed cheese, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                          • Hispanics prefer to both local and imported cheeses
                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Cheese-related behaviors, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Important factors when purchasing natural cheese, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                          • Hispanics view local, imported cheese as worth paying more for
                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Attitudes toward natural cheese, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2014
                                                                                                                        • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Cheese clusters, July, 2014
                                                                                                                            • Group one: Variety Lovers
                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                  • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                    • Group two: Cheese Enthusiasts
                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                          • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                            • Group three: Infrequent Buyers
                                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunities
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Personal cheese consumption, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Reasons for buying cheese – Any rank, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Cheese retail locations – Natural cheese, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Cheese retail locations – Processed cheese, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Cheese-related behaviors, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Important factors when purchasing natural cheese, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Attitudes toward natural cheese, by target clusters, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Target cluster by demographic, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Household natural and imported cheese consumption, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Household natural and imported cheese consumption by kind, February 2008-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Household spread cheese usage, February 2008-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Household spread cheese usage by type, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Household American/pasteurized processed cheese usage, February 2008-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Household American/pasteurized processed cheese usage, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2013-March 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Cheese retail locations – Natural cheese, by gender, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Cheese retail locations – Natural cheese, by age, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Cheese retail locations – Processed cheese, by generations, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Cheese-related behaviors, by any natural cheese consumption and any processed cheese consumption, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Social Media

                                                                                                                                                      • Brand usage or awareness
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Brand usage or awareness, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Daiya usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Cracker barrel usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 88: Philadelphia cream cheese usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 89: Sargento usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 90: Boursin usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 91: Laughing cow cheese usage or awareness, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Activities done
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 92: Activities done. July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 93: Daiya – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 94: Daiya – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 95: Daiya – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 96: Daiya – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 97: Cracker Barrel – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 98: Cracker Barrel – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 99: Cracker Barrel – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 100: Cracker Barrel – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 101: Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 102: Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 103: Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 104: Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 105: Sargento – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 106: Sargento – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 107: Sargento – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 108: Sargento – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 109: Boursin – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 110: Boursin – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 111: Boursin – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 112: Boursin – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 113: Laughing Cow Cheese – Activities done – I have looked up/talked about this brand online on social media…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 114: Laughing Cow Cheese – Activities done – I have contacted/interacted with the brand online on social media to…, by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 115: Laughing Cow Cheese – Activities done – I follow/like the brand on social media because…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 116: Laughing Cow Cheese – Activities done – I have researched the brand on social media to…., by demographics, July 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 117: Key social media metrics for select cheese brands, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • Online conversations
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 118: Share of voice among select cheese brands, by week, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 119: Share of voice among select cheese brands, by page type, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 120: Topics of conversation among select cheese brands, September 22, 2013-September 21, 2014
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Information Resources Inc. Builders Panel Data Definitions

                                                                                                                                                        • Information Resources Inc. Consumer Network Metrics
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                          • Aldi
                                                                                                                                                          • Dairy Farmers of America Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                          • Lactalis USA
                                                                                                                                                          • Meijer
                                                                                                                                                          • Michael Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Saputo Cheese USA Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Sargento Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Tillamook County Creamery Association
                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart Stores (USA)

                                                                                                                                                          Cheese - US - October 2014

                                                                                                                                                          £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)