Description

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

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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?

Covered in this report

Slow and steady growth is a hallmark of the cheese category that was positively disrupted in 2020 by COVID-19. Increased time spent at home and meal and snack occasions created a shift in food dollar spend that has benefitted most food and drink categories, including cheese in 2020, although not entirely equally. Sustaining the positivity for the long-term will rely on innovating and positioning products for increased consumption, with adults in mind, expanding the snacking occasion and widening the audience for dairy-free varieties.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kaitlin Kamp, 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.

COVID-19 has provided a tailwind to previously slow growth in the cheese category, resulting in significant sales increases across each segment and for players both big and small. Consumers have used more cheese both at meals and as a snack during the pandemic, pointing to the importance of cheese’s inherent versatility during these uncertain times and moving forward. However, this sales spike is expected to be short-lived and high unemployment coupled with rising dairy prices will require some brands to communicate value.
Kaitlin Kamp
Food and Drink Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 2: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on cheese
      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on cheese, October 2020
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Re-emergence
      • Figure 4: Reasons for increased consumption, August 2020
    • Recovery
      • Figure 5: Cheese consumption repertoire, by parental status, August 2020
      • Figure 6: Cheese innovation to motivate trial, August 2020
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Cheese sales benefit from COVID-19
    • Cream cheese faces a trial spike challenge
    • Consumers are snacking more often
    • Unemployment and dairy prices remain high
    • Elevate solo snacking to make up for lost social gatherings
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Cheese makes strong, yet unsustainable, COVID-19 gains
      • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Macroeconomic data
      • Figure 9: Expected US Unemployment, 2019-25
      • Figure 10: Consumer confidence index, January 2019-August 2020
    • Impact of COVID-19 on cheese
      • Figure 11: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on cheese, October 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Learnings from the last recession
      • Figure 12: Total market sales and forecast of cheese*, at current prices, 2006-11
  5. Segment Performance

    • COVID-19 spurs every cheese segment back to growth
    • Cream cheese may face trial spike fallout
      • Figure 13: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 14: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2015-25
  6. Market Factors

    • Snacking continues to be a growing opportunity
      • Figure 15: Snacking habits, September 2019
    • Dairy prices are rising
      • Figure 16: US Unemployment, May 2018-September 2020
    • Demographic shifts call for increased attention to non-parents
      • Figure 17: Households, by presence of related children, 2009-19
    • Ethical concerns challenge multiple areas of the category
  7. Market Opportunities

    • Strengthen ties to health
      • Figure 18: Cheese products with better-for-you positioning
    • Facilitate flavor exploration
      • Figure 19: Roth Cheese products
    • Encourage indulging with “fancy cheese” every day
      • Figure 20: Cheese snacks
  8. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Kraft Heinz still tops the cheese market in 2020
    • Private label sales increase 19%
    • Snack sized cheeses flood aisles
    • Dairy-free continues expanding
  9. Market Share

    • Kraft keeps brand lead, but changes are coming
      • Figure 21: US multi-outlet sales of cheese, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
    • Private label gains sales and share
      • Figure 22: Sales growth of cheese, by private label, 2019-20
  10. Competitive Strategies

    • Brands continue to target snacking by going small
      • Figure 23: Cheese snacks
    • Despite a small audience, dairy-free cheese keeps growing
      • Figure 24: Mulo sales of non-dairy cheese snacks, rolling 52 weeks 2019
    • Cottage cheese brands work to distance from diet
      • Figure 25: Cottage cheese verbatims
      • Figure 26: Cottage cheese products
    • Reinforce provenance as a selling point
      • Figure 27: Cheese snacks
  11. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Nearly all households eat cheese
    • Kids spur deeper category participation
    • Versatility at the core of category growth
    • Remind consumers of cheese’s inherent health benefits
    • Grow the snacking occasion…
    • …especially for premium and unique products
    • Dairy-free faces taste and price challenges
  12. Cheese Consumption

    • Cheese is a household staple
      • Figure 28: Cheese consumption, repertoire, August 2020
    • Don’t rest your laurels on families
      • Figure 29: Cheese consumption repertoire, by parental status, August 2020
    • Engage the ends of the age spectrum in different cheese types
      • Figure 30: Cheese consumption, by age, August 2020
    • Value can mean many things in a recession
      • Figure 31: Cheese consumption, by household income, August 2020
  13. Types of Cheese Consumed

    • Recipe-ready options dominate
      • Figure 32: Kinds of cheese eaten, November 2019-June 2020
    • Cheddar a fan favorite
      • Figure 33: Kinds of cheese eaten, November 2019-June 2020
  14. Household Cheese Consumption

    • Kids are an integral part of household consumption
      • Figure 34: Household cheese consumption, August 2020
  15. Change in Cheese Consumption

    • Cheese growth outpaces attrition
      • Figure 35: Change in cheese consumption, August 2020
    • Gen Zers less likely to increase consumption than Millennials
      • Figure 36: Change in cheese consumption, by age, August 2020
    • Parents increasing their consumption
      • Figure 37: Change in cheese consumption, by parental status, August 2020
    • Cater to the adventurous
      • Figure 38: Change in cheese consumption, by food and drink segmentation, August 2020
  16. Reasons for Increased Consumption

    • Versatility and variety fuel growth
      • Figure 39: Reasons for increased consumption, August 2020
  17. Reasons for Decreased Consumption

    • Health is at the core of consumption reduction
      • Figure 40: Reasons for decreased consumption, August 2020
  18. Cheese Occasions

    • Meals outperform snacking dayparts
      • Figure 41: Cheese occasions, August 2020
      • Figure 42: Cheese snacks
    • Young consumers underindex in cheese snacking
      • Figure 43: Cheese use for snacking occasions, by age, August 2020
      • Figure 44: Share of snacking, by age, November 2018
    • Refresh cheese snacks with adult needs in mind
      • Figure 45: Cheese occasions, by parental status, August 2020
      • Figure 46: Cheese social media marketing
  19. Cheese Attributes by Occasion

    • Different cheeses fit different occasions
    • A social occasion of one
    • A case for familiar flavors
    • BFY snacking
      • Figure 47: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Cheese occasion attributes, August 2020
      • Figure 48: Cheese occasion attributes, August 2020
    • Dads a candidate for elevated snacking
      • Figure 49: Cheese attributes by occasion, by age, August 2020
  20. Cheese Attitudes

    • Cheese can establish even stronger connections to both health and comfort
    • Dairy-free cheese needs to address health, price and taste
      • Figure 50: Cheese attitudes, August 2020
    • Convince younger consumers of health benefits
      • Figure 51: Cheese attitudes, by age, August 2020
    • Consumers under 44 are the audience for ethical messaging
      • Figure 52: Cheese attitudes, by generation, August 2020
  21. Interest in Cheese Innovation

    • Innovation in taste leads interest
      • Figure 53: Cheese innovation to motivate trial, August 2020
    • A look into flavor opportunities
      • Figure 54: Interest and experience with savory dairy flavors, April 2020
      • Figure 55: Interest and experience with sweet dairy flavors, April 2020
    • Pair adventure and health with snacking
      • Figure 56: TURF Analysis – Innovation to motivate trial, August 2020
      • Figure 57: Tillamook cheeseboards
    • Most innovation should remain approachable, accessible
      • Figure 58: Innovation to motivate trial, by household income, August 2020
  22. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  23. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 59: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 60: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 61: Total US retail sales of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2018 and 2020
      • Figure 62: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 63: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 64: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 65: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 66: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 67: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 68: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 69: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 70: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 71: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 72: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at current prices, 2015-25
      • Figure 73: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
  24. Appendix – Retail Channels

      • Figure 74: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 75: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2018 and 2020
      • Figure 76: US supermarket sales of cheese, at current prices, 2015-20
      • Figure 77: US sales of cheese through other retail channels, at current prices, 2015-20
  25. Appendix – Companies and Brands

      • Figure 78: US multi-outlet sales of natural cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
      • Figure 79: US multi-outlet sales of natural cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
      • Figure 80: US multi-outlet sales of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
      • Figure 81: US multi-outlet sales of cottage cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
  26. Food/Drink Consumer Segmentation

  27. TURF Analysis – Cheese – Methodology

    • Methodology
      • Figure 82: TURF Analysis – Innovation to drive trial, August 2020
  28. Correspondence Analysis – Cheese – Methodology

    • Methodology
      • Figure 83: Correspondence analysis – Symmetrical map – Cheese occasion attributes, August 2020
      • Figure 84: Correspondence analysis – Principal map – Cheese occasion attributes, August 2020

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