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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cheese market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Meat replacement trend poses an opportunity for cheese
  • Highlight health benefits to prevent switching away from cheese
  • Freshness resonates more than environmentally friendly packaging in cheese

Covered in this report

Estimated at £2.78 billion in 2019, sales of cheese grew by a modest 2.2% over 2014-19. Volume sales are estimated to reach 371 million kg in 2019, this representing the first year of volume growth since 2016, inflation having subdued volumes over the last couple of years.

Cheese is a household staple, with 91% of UK adults eating cheese, 80% doing so weekly. 16-24s are less likely than average to eat cheese, although usage is still very high at 86%. Hard cheese such as cheddar continues to be the most popular type of cheese, with 73% of UK adults having bought it.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Amy Price, 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.

Reminding consumers of the nutritional benefits of cheese such as its protein and calcium content remains pertinent to boost the category’s healthy image and promote more frequent usage. This should also help the market to capitalise on the flexitarian trend, which presents an opportunity for cheese to play a more important nutritional role in consumers’ diets Amy Price
Senior 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
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Falling prices see volume sales return to growth
              • Figure 1: Forecast of UK retail value sales of cheese, 2014-24
            • Cheddar retains lead, despite sluggish sales; continental sees growth
              • Figure 2: Share of UK retail value sales of cheese, by type, 2019
            • Improved household incomes create a boost
              • Companies and brands
                • Own-label growth outpaces the market; Saputo’s Cathedral City leads brand sales
                  • Figure 3: Leading brands’ shares in the UK cheese market, by value, 2018/19*
                • Brands look to health and snacking in NPD
                  • Vegan trend continues to gather pace
                    • Decline in adspend stabilises
                      • Cathedral City leads on trust; Cheestrings on fun
                        • The consumer
                          • 91% of UK adults eat cheese
                            • Figure 4: Frequency of eating/using cheese, July 2019
                          • Hard cheese is by far the most popular purchase, at 73%
                            • Figure 5: Types of cheese bought, July 2019
                          • With bread is the most popular way to eat cheese; a third snack on it
                            • Figure 6: Occasions when cheese is used/eaten, July 2019
                          • Cheese type is the top purchasing factor
                            • Figure 7: Factors influencing purchasing of cheese, July 2019
                          • Meat replacement trend poses an opportunity; promotions still popular
                            • Figure 8: Behaviours related to cheese, July 2019
                          • Health benefits such as protein content resonate widely
                            • Figure 9: Attitudes towards cheese, July 2019
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                            • Meat replacement trend poses an opportunity for cheese
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Highlight health benefits to prevent switching away from cheese
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Freshness resonates more than environmentally friendly packaging in cheese
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                              • In-store guidance would help shoppers to navigate the cheese fixture
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Falling prices see volume sales return to growth
                                                      • Cheddar retains lead, despite sluggish sales
                                                        • Continental sees strongest growth
                                                          • Health remains a concern for consumers
                                                            • Out-of-home lunch market remains a threat
                                                              • Improved household incomes create a boost
                                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                • Falling prices see volume sales return to growth in 2019
                                                                    • Figure 10: UK retail value and volume sales of cheese, 2014-24
                                                                  • The future
                                                                      • Figure 11: Forecast of UK retail value sales of cheese, 2014-24
                                                                      • Figure 12: Forecast of UK retail volume sales of cheese, 2014-24
                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                    • Market Segmentation

                                                                      • Cheddar retains lead, despite sluggish sales
                                                                        • Continental sees strongest growth
                                                                          • Figure 13: UK retail value and volume sales of cheese, by type, 2017-19
                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                        • Health remains a concern for consumers
                                                                          • Meat-free trend provides an opportunity for cheese
                                                                            • The vegan movement is a threat
                                                                              • Out-of-home lunch market remains a threat
                                                                                • Improved household incomes create opportunities for premium products
                                                                                  • Figure 14: CPI vs average weekly earnings, January 2013-April 2019
                                                                                • Brexit uncertainty lingers, potentially denting volumes as consumers cut back
                                                                                  • Pressure grows on the food industry to reduce packaging waste
                                                                                    • Rise in children and over-55s should support sales
                                                                                      • Figure 15: Change in age structure of the UK population, 2014-19 and 2019-24
                                                                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                    • Own-label growth outpaces the market; Saputo’s Cathedral City leads brand sales
                                                                                      • Saputo’s Cathedral City focuses on health and snacking
                                                                                        • Children’s brands look to snacking opportunities
                                                                                          • Vegan trend continues to gather pace
                                                                                            • Decline in adspend stabilises
                                                                                              • Cathedral City leads on trust; Cheestrings on fun
                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                • Own-label growth outpaces the market
                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Leading brands in the UK cheese market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                • Saputo’s Cathedral City leads brand sales
                                                                                                  • Other cheddar brands see mixed fortunes
                                                                                                    • Mondelēz brands perform well
                                                                                                      • Figure 17: Leading manufacturers in the UK cheese market, by value and volume, 2017/18 and 2018/19
                                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                    • Own-label steps up innovation in 2019
                                                                                                      • Figure 18: Share of new product launches in the cheese market, by own-label vs branded, 2015-19
                                                                                                    • Tesco leads NPD
                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Tesco expands Creamfields tertiary line, 2019
                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Share of new product launches in the cheese market, by top 10 companies (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                    • Sainsbury’s steps up NPD
                                                                                                      • Figure 21: Retailers look to flavour innovation, 2019
                                                                                                    • Saputo’s Cathedral City focuses on health and snacking
                                                                                                      • Figure 22: Cathedral City NPD looks to snacking and health, 2019
                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Cathedral City extends further into biscuits, 2019
                                                                                                    • Other cheese makers look to health and snack trends too
                                                                                                      • Reducing fat content
                                                                                                        • Referencing digestion
                                                                                                          • Brands look to snacking opportunities, adding more fun through NPD
                                                                                                            • Figure 24: Brands target the snacking occasion in cheese, 2019
                                                                                                          • Vegan trend continues to gather pace
                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Share of new product launches in the cheese market carrying the vegan/no animal ingredients claim, 2015-19
                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Cheese makers look to vegan products, 2019
                                                                                                          • NPD positioning cheese as a core meal component taps into the meat reduction trend
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Retailers market cheese as a meat/fish alternative, 2019
                                                                                                          • Premium claims bounce back in 2019
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Share of new product launches in the cheese market carrying the premium claim, 2015-19
                                                                                                          • Lidl launches limited edition cheeses
                                                                                                            • Provenance offers standout
                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Emphasising country of origin, 2019
                                                                                                              • Referencing production methods can denote quality
                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Cheese makers reference production methods, 2019
                                                                                                              • Cheese makers look to cater to environmental/ethical concerns
                                                                                                                • Leerdammer launches Free Grazing Promise
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Leerdammer highlights free grazing promise, 2018
                                                                                                                • Wensleydale Creamery converts food waste into electricity
                                                                                                                  • Aldi’s cheese slices support sustainable palm oil
                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Aldi references use of sustainable palm oil on front of pack, 2019
                                                                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                  • Decline in adspend stabilises
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, 2015-19
                                                                                                                  • Bel overtakes Mondelēz as the leading advertiser
                                                                                                                    • Babybel and The Laughing Cow focus on snack time
                                                                                                                      • Leerdammer champions its free-grazing cows in ad
                                                                                                                        • Mondelēz’ Philadelphia ad banned; Dairylea focuses on fun
                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, by top 10 advertisers (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Share of total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, by top brands, 2018
                                                                                                                        • Seriously Spreadable returns to TV screens
                                                                                                                          • Kerry supports Cheeshapes product under Strings & Things masterbrand
                                                                                                                            • Pilgrims Choice continues dream campaign
                                                                                                                              • Le Rustique pushes authenticity in TV advert
                                                                                                                                • Wensleydale Creamery’s Crumble It campaign seeks to drive usage
                                                                                                                                  • Violife airs first vegan cheese ad on TV
                                                                                                                                    • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                    • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Key metrics for selected brands, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Brand attitudes: Philadelphia is most innovative
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Attitudes, by brand, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Brand personality: Kids’ brands Dairylea and Cheestrings stand out on fun
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 39: Brand personality – Macro image, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Cathedral City seen to be the most delicious
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Brand personality – Micro image, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                          • Cathedral City leads on trust, quality and authenticity
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: User profile of Cathedral City, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Seriously seen to be accessible by over half
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 42: User profile of Seriously, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Pilgrims Choice is seen to offer high quality by almost half
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: User profile of Pilgrims Choice, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Philadelphia delivers on health and for being unique
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: User profile of Philadelphia, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Cheestrings seen to be the most fun
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: User profile of Cheestrings, September 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Dairylea stands out as a family brand
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: User profile of Dairylea, September 2019
                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                          • 91% of UK adults eat cheese
                                                                                                                                            • Hard cheese is by far the most popular purchase, at 73%
                                                                                                                                              • With bread is the most popular way to eat cheese; a third snack on it
                                                                                                                                                • Cheese type is the top purchasing factor
                                                                                                                                                  • Meat replacement trend poses an opportunity; promotions still popular
                                                                                                                                                    • Health benefits such as protein content resonate widely
                                                                                                                                                    • Frequency of Eating Cheese

                                                                                                                                                      • 91% of UK adults eat cheese
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Frequency of eating/using cheese, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                      • Types of Cheese Bought

                                                                                                                                                        • Hard cheese is by far the most popular purchase, at 73%
                                                                                                                                                          • Families opt for cream cheese and processed cheese
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Types of cheese bought, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Affluent buyers are more adventurous
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Types of cheese bought, by annual household income, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Buyers have a narrow repertoire; 35% buy just one type
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Repertoire of types of cheese bought in the last three months, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Cheese Occasions

                                                                                                                                                          • With bread is the most popular way to eat cheese
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Occasions when cheese is used/eaten, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • A third eat cheese as a snack
                                                                                                                                                            • Women and older consumers have a wider repertoire by occasion
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 52: Repertoire of occasions when cheese is used/eaten, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 53: Boursin emphasises variety of uses on-pack, 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Factors Influencing Purchasing of Cheese

                                                                                                                                                            • Cheese type is the top purchasing factor
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Factors influencing purchasing of cheese, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Low price appeals to 42%
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 55: Those citing low price as a factor influencing purchasing of cheese, by annual household income, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                          • Cheese Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                            • Meat replacement trend poses an opportunity for cheese
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Behaviours related to cheese, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                            • Promotions remain a driver to switching among 52%
                                                                                                                                                              • Brand extensions could offer additional revenue
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Cheese – CHAID – Tree output, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Health influences cheese choices
                                                                                                                                                                • Minority interest in subscriptions
                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Cheese

                                                                                                                                                                  • Health benefits such as protein content resonate widely
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Attitudes towards cheese, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                  • 48% prioritise freshness over environmentally friendly packaging
                                                                                                                                                                    • In-store guidance would help 25%
                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                            • CHAID Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Cheese – CHAID – Table output, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: UK value sales of cheese, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: UK volume sales of cheese, best- and worst-case forecast, 2019-24
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Share of new product launches in the cheese market, by launch type, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Share of new product launches in the cheese market, by the top 20 claims, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Share of new product launches in the cheese market, by claim category, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, by category (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, by media type (sorted by 2018), 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cheese, by top 10 brands (sorted by 2018), 2015-19

                                                                                                                                                                            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