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All reports purchased from the Mintel Store now come with free access to our COVID-19 Global Insights Hub, allowing you to understand how industries and consumer behaviour is changing worldwide.


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Covered in this report

Overall, cheese remains a staple good in most Irish homes and its resilience and ability to diversify into new flavours, formats etc is reflected in the growth projections of Irish sales. Producers still face incoming threats in 2020, namely the upheaval in consumer buying and global economic turmoil associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Early forecasts warn of the negative implications it will have on economic growth and business confidence – potentially affecting dairy producers. This, along with Brexit, could cause fluctuations in cheese sales in 2020/21 going forward.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Emma McGeown, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Cheese continues to be one of the most innovative and dynamic categories in the Irish food and drink sector – making it a staple good in most consumers’ weekly shopping basket. As consumers buy into healthy trends, they are seeking more healthy habits to facilitate their busy lifestyles – an area that cheese can excel within Emma McGeown
Food & Drink Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key Issues Covered in this Report
        • Issues covered in this Report
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2015-19
            • Market factors
              • UK prices fluctuate while RoI prices decrease
                • Brexit concerns among IoI consumers potentially affecting the cheese industry
                  • Own-label cheese preferred over branded
                    • Bord Bia addresses animal welfare concerns
                      • Impact of COVID-19 on Cheese
                        • Figure 2: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, IoI, NI and RoI, (adjusted for COVID-19), 2015-25
                        • Figure 3: Expected impact of COVID-19 on cheese, short, medium and long-term, 30th April 2020
                      • Who’s innovating?
                        • The consumer
                          • Cheese eaten by most consumers
                            • Figure 4: Frequency consumers typically eat/use cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Hard cheese favoured by Irish consumers
                            • Figure 5: Types of cheese bought in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Cheese is most likely to be paired with bread
                            • Figure 6: The ways consumers have eaten/used cheese in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Cheese under environmental spotlight
                            • Figure 7: Agreement with statements related to cheese and eco/ethical concerns, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Consumer interest in more flavours from their favourite brands
                            • Figure 8: Agreement with statements related to cheese and brand loyalty, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Cheese viewed as a good source of protein
                            • Figure 9: Agreement with statements related to cheese and health, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • Three in four enjoy shopping for cheese
                            • Figure 10: Agreement with statements related to cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                          • What we think
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • COVID-19: Cheese benefits in the short run
                              • Cheese sales witness modest but continued growth
                                • Cheese prices in RoI see a decline while UK prices fluctuate
                                  • Brexit continues to concern IoI consumers
                                    • Own-label cheese preferred over branded
                                      • Bord Bia addresses animal welfare concerns
                                      • The Impact of COVID-19 on Cheese

                                        • Short, medium and long-term impact on the industry
                                          • Figure 11: Expected impact of COVID-19 on cheese, short, medium and long-term, 30th April 2020
                                        • Opportunities and Threats
                                          • Impact on the cheese market
                                            • Figure 12: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, IoI, NI and RoI (adjusted for COVID-19), 2015-25
                                          • How the crisis will affect cheese’s key consumer segments
                                            • Figure 13: Consumer agreement with statements related to COVID-19, NI and RoI, April 2020
                                            • Figure 14: Expected changes to food spending over the next month, in home vs out of home, NI and RoI, April 2020
                                          • How a COVID-19 recession will reshape the cheese market
                                            • Figure 15: Consumers who have cut back on non-essential spending as a result of the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, by gender and age, NI and RoI, April 2020
                                            • Figure 16: Estimated retail sales of cheese, IoI, NI and RoI, 2008-11
                                          • Marketing Mix
                                            • COVID-19: Market context
                                            • Market Sizes and Forecast

                                                • Cheese market continues to grow in 2019
                                                  • Figure 17: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, IoI, NI and RoI (adjusted for COVID-19), 2015-25
                                                • Higher growth for cheese expected as a result of COVID-19
                                                  • Figure 18: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, pre-pandemic vs adjusted for COVID-19, NI and RoI, 2020
                                                • 5.1% growth forecast by 2025
                                                  • Figure 19: Estimated retail sales of cheese, by value sales, IoI, NI and RoI, 2015-25
                                              • Market Drivers

                                                • Cheese prices in RoI slowly falling
                                                  • Figure 20: Consumer price indices of cheese and curd, RoI, January 2017-January 2020
                                                  • Figure 21: Consumer price indices of cheese and curd, UK (including NI), January 2017-January 2020
                                                • Brexit fears filter down to the dairy industry
                                                  • Figure 22: Agreement with statements related to Brexit, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                  • Figure 23: What effect consumers think Brexit will have on the cost of groceries, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                • Own-label cheese preferred in Ireland
                                                  • Figure 24: Consumers’ preferences for branded vs own-label dairy (eg milk, cheese), NI and RoI, September 2019
                                                • Brands can stand out by going green
                                                  • Bord Bia launch grass-fed initiative
                                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Award-winning cheese in Ireland
                                                      • Premium cheese trending in Ireland while low-fat launches slow
                                                        • Room for growth of vegan claims as dairy industry addresses environment
                                                        • Who’s Innovating?

                                                            • Innovation in hard cheese slows
                                                              • Figure 25: New product development in cheese, UK and Ireland, 2015-19
                                                            • Cream cheese adds appeal with ‘whipped’ claims
                                                              • Own-label innovation outshines branded goods
                                                                • Figure 26: Number of new products launched in cheese, by branded vs own-label, UK and Ireland, 2015-19
                                                                • Figure 27: New products launched in the cheese market, by company, UK and Ireland, 2015-19
                                                              • What’s trending in cheese claims?
                                                              • Key Players

                                                                  • Arla Foods
                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                        • Brand NPD
                                                                          • Recent developments
                                                                            • Carbery
                                                                              • Key facts
                                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                                  • Brand NPD
                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                      • Cashel Blue Farmhouse Cheesemakers
                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                            • Recent developments
                                                                                              • Dale Farm
                                                                                                • Key facts
                                                                                                  • Product portfolio
                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                      • Dairy Crest/Saputo Dairy UK
                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                                            • Brand NPD
                                                                                                              • Recent developments
                                                                                                                • Dairygold
                                                                                                                  • Key facts
                                                                                                                    • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                      • Recent developments
                                                                                                                        • Kerry Group
                                                                                                                          • Key facts
                                                                                                                            • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                              • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                  • Glanbia
                                                                                                                                    • Key facts
                                                                                                                                      • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                        • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                          • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                            • Mondelēz International
                                                                                                                                              • Key facts
                                                                                                                                                • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                  • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                      • Ornua
                                                                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                                                                          • Product portfolio
                                                                                                                                                            • Brand NPD
                                                                                                                                                              • Recent developments
                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                • Cheese remains a staple in Irish households
                                                                                                                                                                  • Hard cheese is the top cheese eaten by Irish consumers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Bread and cheese go hand-in-hand
                                                                                                                                                                      • Cheese finds itself under eco and ethical scrutiny
                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer interest in more flavours from their favourite brands
                                                                                                                                                                          • Cheese viewed as a good source of protein
                                                                                                                                                                          • Frequency of Purchase

                                                                                                                                                                              • Nine in 10 Irish consumers eat cheese in a typical month
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Frequency consumers typically eat/use cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                              • Younger consumers more likely to eat cheese daily
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Consumers who eat cheese once a day or more, by age, NI and RoI, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Frequency consumers typically eat/use cheese, NI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Frequency consumers typically eat/use cheese, RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Agreement with the statement ‘Environmental concerns have caused me to limit/reduce the amount of cheese I eat in the last 12 months’, by age, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                            • Types of Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                • Hard cheese in the most bought cheese in Ireland
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Types of cheese bought in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Hard cheese enjoyed most by older age demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Consumers who bought hard cheese in the last three months, by age, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Cream cheese can target affluent consumers with premium claims
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Consumers who bought cream cheese (eg Philadelphia, Mascarpone) in the last three months, by gender and socio-economic group, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Goat/sheep’s cheese finds an audience in meat alternatives
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Consumers who bought goat/sheep's milk cheese in the last three months, by gender, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Consumers who are currently adhering to a flexitarian diet (meaning they mainly eat plants, but occasionally eat meat), by gender, NI and RoI, June 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Usage of Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cheese eaten most with bread
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: The ways consumers have eaten/used cheese in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mature consumers more likely eat cheese in a sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Consumers who have used cheese with bread (eg in a sandwich) in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cheese usage in hot meals vs cold meals
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Consumers who have used cheese as an ingredient in a hot meal and as an ingredient in a cold meal in the last three months, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                • Cheese and the Eco and Ethical Movement

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Biodegradable cheese demanded
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Agreement with statements related to cheese and eco/ethical concerns, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Biodegradable packaging demanded but is it practical?
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Consumer agreement with the statement ‘Cheese packaging should be biodegradable’, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Demand exists for vegan cheese but more variety is needed
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Agreement with statements related to vegan cheese and environmental concerns, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand Loyalty in Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Greater NPD demanded by consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Agreement with statements related to cheese and brand loyalty, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Affluent consumers seek more from cheese brands
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Consumer agreement with the statement ‘I would like to try new types of cheese from my favourite brand (eg new flavour, format etc)’, by social class NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Irish brands seen as superior
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Consumer agreement with the statement ‘Irish/Northern Irish cheese is superior to cheese from other countries’, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Health and Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cheese seen as a good source of protein
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Agreement with statements related to cheese and health, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Health concerns could threaten the cheese market
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Agreement with statements related to cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gut health claims can elevate cheese’s image
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Cheese seen as a healthy snack but there is scope to target adults better
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Agreement with statements related to cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Consumers who have used cheese as a snack on its own for themselves or with crackers, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Attitudes towards Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Texture is just as important as flavour
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Agreement with statements related to cheese, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Convenient packaging worth paying premium
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Consumer agreement with the statement ‘it is worth paying more for grated/sliced cheese than standard block cheese’, by age, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Irish consumers enjoy shopping for cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Consumer agreement with the statement ‘I enjoy shopping for cheese’, NI and RoI, January 2020
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Generational cohort definitions
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                                                                                About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                  New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Description