Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

US Cheese market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cheese market, its consumers and the major players who make up that market.

Market

Point of sale market data

In conjunction with IRi, extensive point of sale data shows you what consumers are spending their money on

Market Size

How big is the market today and what is our 5 year forecast? Includes both best & worst case scenarios

Market Segmentation

What are the different segments within the market and how are those individual segments performing?

Consumer

Consumer behaviors

What are consumers looking for, what drives their buying habits and what are their main purchase influencers?

Demographic breakdown

From iGen & Millennials to Baby Boomers & beyond. Who is spending money and what are they spending it on?

Representative sample

We gather our data from real-world consumers, selected to accurately reflect precise global demographics

Players

Company strategy

What are the key players doing, what has been successful for them and what was their marketing spend?

Product innovation

Using data from our Global New Product Database, what products were launched and how well were they perceived?

Opportunities

What happens next, which areas are likely to experience growth and what opportunities exist within the market?

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

The cheese category is expected to continue on its course of slow, steady growth. Natural cheese continues to set the pace for the category, boosted by consumer interest in natural foods, increased snacking occasions, and the perception that natural cheese can be part of a healthy diet. For category competitors, there’s an opportunity to accelerate sales growth by giving cheese lovers more ways to love cheese by introducing them to new varieties and flavors and inspiring them with new recipes and ideas. John Owen
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

This report discusses the following key topics:

Definition

This Report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Cheese – US, October 2017, Cheese: Spotlight on Natural – US, November 2015 as well as Cheese – US, October 2014 and the October 2013, June 2012, October 2011, May 2010, May 2009, March 2007, April 2005, and February 2003 Reports of the same title.

This Report covers four main segments of cheese:

  • Natural cheese: includes all forms (slices, blocks, chunks, cubes, crumbles, shredded), string cheese, and ricotta cheese. Cheeses in this segment are produced directly from milk or whey that has been coagulated, heated, drained, and pressed. It can include the addition of salt and/or flavorings.
  • Processed cheese: includes cheese spreads in aerosol cans, squeezable tubes, cheese balls, cheese loafs and other forms, and imitation cheese. Cheeses in this segment are typically a blend of cheeses that have been mixed and cooked and include additional ingredients such as cream, milk, water, or cheese whey.
  • Cream cheese/cream cheese spreads: includes brick, soft, whipped, balls, and other forms; may be plain or flavored.
  • Cottage cheese

While most cheese is made from cow’s milk, cheeses made from goat’s milk and other dairy products, as well as non-dairy sources, such as soy milk, also are included.

Excluded from this Report are:

Yogurt cheese, cheese sauces, and cheese dips. The market size includes prepackaged UPC (Universal Product Code), PLU (price look up), and retailer-coded cheese. It includes sales through retail venues but excludes sales through restaurants and other foodservice venues and dairies/wholesalers.

Value figures throughout this Report are at rsp (retail selling prices), excluding sales tax, unless otherwise stated.

Note: Natural cheese is the focus of the consumer sections of this Report; however, sales of processed cheese, cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, and cottage cheese are included within the Market and Key Players sections.

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Slight annual growth expected
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2013-23
          • Consumers avoiding processed
            • Usage largely confined to only a few varieties
              • Figure 2: Consumption of cheese varieties, July 2018
            • The opportunities
              • Increasing awareness of cheese’s healthy attributes
                • Figure 3: Healthy reasons for cheese consumption, by age, July 2018
              • Specialty cheese options for on-the-go usage
                • Figure 4: Cheese use opinions, July 2018
              • Capitalizing on cheese’s role as a healthy indulgence
                • Figure 5: Health and cheese, July 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Slight growth reflects largely mature category
                  • Natural options dominate
                    • Cheese in a healthy snack
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Slight annual growth expected
                        • Figure 6: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2013-23
                        • Figure 7: Total US sales and forecast of market, at current prices, 2013-23
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • Natural options dominate market
                        • Figure 8: Sales of cheese, by segment, in billions, 2018 (est)
                        • Figure 9: Sales of cheese, by segment, 2013-23
                      • Supermarket dominance could shift
                        • Figure 10: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2013-18
                    • Market Factors

                      • Impact of dairy commodity prices
                        • Figure 11: Natural cheese MULO sales growth, dollar sales versus volume sales, 2014-18*
                      • Natural perceived as healthier
                        • Figure 12: Description of natural/organic, April 2017
                      • Leveraging cheese’s healthy attributes
                        • Figure 13: Snacking frequency, March 2017
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Brand factors more outside of natural cheese
                        • Added health, added appeal
                          • Challenges for processed cheese
                            • Improving dairy-free cheeses requires flavor innovation, lower price
                            • Company and Brand Sales of Cheese

                              • Private label dominates market share
                                • Sales of cheese by company
                                  • Figure 14: Sales of cheese, by company, 2017 and 2018
                              • What’s Working?

                                • Healthy but at a cost
                                    • Figure 15: Natural cheese introductions, 2017-18
                                • What’s Struggling?

                                  • Processed sales slump
                                    • Figure 16: Processed cheese introductions, 2017-18
                                • What’s Next?

                                  • Plant-based potential
                                    • Figure 17: Plant-based cheese introductions, 2017-18
                                    • Figure 18: Product attributes, select plant-based cheese launches, 2017-18
                                  • Naturally avoiding GMOs
                                    • Figure 19: GMO-free claims on cheese introductions, 2013-18
                                  • Farm-to-fork becomes lab-to-plate
                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                    • Growth demands increasing frequency
                                      • Younger consumers embrace wider variety of cheeses
                                        • Highlight cheese's healthy details
                                          • Leveraging cheese's versatility
                                            • Moving cheese beyond sandwiches
                                              • Young consumers shopping around at non-supermarket channels
                                                • Brands resonate with Hispanic consumers
                                                  • No need for natural claims
                                                  • Cheese Consumption

                                                    • Natural cheese usage widespread
                                                      • Figure 20: Cheese consumption, July 2018
                                                    • Dairy-free and processed cheese of significantly greater interest to younger consumers
                                                      • Figure 21: Cheese consumption, by age, July 2018
                                                    • Six in 10 dairy-free cheese consumers eat it at least weekly
                                                      • Figure 22: Cheese consumption frequency, July 2018
                                                  • Consumption of Cheese Varieties

                                                    • Cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan are most popular varieties
                                                      • Figure 23: Consumption of cheese varieties, July 2018
                                                    • Younger consumers eating a variety of cheese types
                                                      • Figure 24: Consumption of cheese varieties, by age, July 2018
                                                      • Figure 25: Kraft Expertly Paired cheeses, 2018
                                                    • Versatility’s appeal
                                                      • Figure 26: Reasons for eating cheese, by consumption of cheese varieties, July 2018
                                                  • Reasons for Consumption

                                                    • Taste tops reasons for cheese consumption
                                                      • Figure 27: Reasons for cheese consumption, July 2018
                                                    • Parents like cheese’s versatility, snackability
                                                      • Figure 28: Reasons for cheese consumption, by gender and parental status, July 2018
                                                  • Nutrition Driven Reasons for Consumption

                                                    • Possible lack of awareness of cheese’s healthy attributes among younger consumers
                                                      • Figure 29: Healthy reasons for cheese consumption, by age, July 2018
                                                  • Uses Other Than a Snack

                                                    • Sandwich usage most widespread application for cheese
                                                      • Figure 30: Non-snack cheese usage, July 2018
                                                  • Purchase Location

                                                    • Most consumers purchase at supermarkets
                                                      • Figure 31: Purchase location, July 2018
                                                    • Younger consumers purchase from a variety of retailers
                                                      • Figure 32: Purchase location, by age, July 2018
                                                  • Purchase Factors

                                                    • Resealable packaging resonates
                                                      • Figure 33: Purchase factors, July 2018
                                                    • Hispanic consumers drawn to brand
                                                      • Figure 34: Purchase factors, by Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                                    • Packaging with flavor and brand power
                                                      • Figure 35: TURF analysis, purchase factors, July 2018
                                                  • Natural Claims on Consumption

                                                    • Natural resonates even over healthy attributes
                                                      • Figure 36: Healthy purchase factors, July 2018
                                                      • Figure 37: Purchase considerations, by cheese consumption frequency, July 2018
                                                  • Health Opinions and Cheese

                                                    • Healthy indulgence to increase consumption
                                                      • Figure 38: Health and cheese, July 2018
                                                    • Organic claims could lure younger consumers
                                                      • Figure 39: Health and cheese, by age, July 2018
                                                    • Hispanics, especially Millennials, express health-related concerns about cheese
                                                      • Figure 40: Health and cheese, by Hispanic origin, July 2018
                                                  • Opinions about Cheese Consumption

                                                    • Consumer interest in new cheese options, on-the-go usage
                                                      • Figure 41: Cheese use opinions, July 2018
                                                    • Free-range resonating much more strongly among younger consumers
                                                      • Figure 42: Cheese use opinions, by age and gender, July 2018
                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                    • Data sources
                                                      • Sales data
                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                  • Figure 43: Total US sales and forecast of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 44: Total US retail sales of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 45: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 46: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 47: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 48: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 49: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 50: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 51: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at current prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 52: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                                                                  • Figure 53: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2016 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 54: US supermarket sales of cheese, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                  • Figure 55: US sales of cheese through other retail channels, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                              • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                  • Figure 56: Multi-outlet sales of natural cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 57: Multi-outlet sales of processed cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 58: Multi-outlet sales of cream cheese and cream cheese spreads, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 59: Multi-outlet sales of cottage cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                              • Appendix – TURF Analysis Methodology

                                                                  • Figure 60: Table – TURF analysis – Purchase considerations, July 2018