Description

“The cheese category has grown 19% since 2017, owing in no small part to significant gains made during the course of the pandemic. More importantly, the category has yet to relinquish much of those gains as consumers continue to embrace the category and its versatile, flavorful range of offerings. With 95% penetration among consumers, the category has limited growth opportunity, save for extending usage occasions and expanding a role as part of consumer routines. An uptick in snacking can drive cheese purchases if brands focus on health claims such as protein and calcium content.”
– Billy Roberts, Sr. Analyst – Food and Drink

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Cheese consumption
  • Varieties of cheeses eaten
  • Cheese purchase factors
  • Consumption occasions for cheese
  • Behaviors and attitudes toward cheese

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas:
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Sales retain pandemic-era gains
      • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 2: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 3: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Expand upon the familiar
      • Figure 4: Expanding use of cheese, by age, 2022
    • Assuage concerns about cheese production
      • Figure 5: Consumers and cheese production, any agree, by generation, 2022
    • More cheese, please
      • Figure 6: Interest in using cheese more, any agree, by age, 2022
    • Plant-based interest largely stems from sustainable concerns
      • Figure 7: Consumption of dairy-alternative cheese, 2022
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Cheese sales hold on to virtually all pandemic gains
      • Figure 8: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
  4. Segment Performance

    • Natural cheese dominates segment sales
      • Figure 10: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
  5. Market Factors

    • Prices continue to edge higher, likely keeping many meals at home
      • Figure 11: Changes in Consumer Price Indexes for food, 2020 through 2023
    • Inflation’s impact upon consumer finances
      • Figure 12: Personal assessment of financial health, 2021-22
    • Flexitarianism can resonate with traditional and plant-based cheeses
      • Figure 13: Dietary preferences, demographic profiles, indexed against all consumers, 2022
  6. Market Share/Key Players

    • Private label maintains share lead but slips as Kraft Heinz grows amid selloff
    • Sales of cheese by company
      • Figure 14: Sales of cheese, by company, 2021-22
  7. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Flavors can go bolder and familiar
      • Figure 15: US launches of cheeses with novel and bolder flavor profiles, 2022
    • Brand messaging around cheese’s production
      • Figure 16: Cheese launches in the US, 2022
    • Bring fun and variety to the cheese occasion
      • Figure 17: “Cheese heads” campaign from Saputo Dairy’s Friga, 2022
    • Plant-based maximizing appeal with free-from claims
      • Figure 18: Launches of plant-based cheeses in the US, 2022
      • Figure 19: Cheese launches in the US, by claim, 2017-21
  8. The Cheese Consumer – Fast Facts

    • Nearly universal consumption of cheese
    • Convenience, versatility driving consumers’ cheese choice
    • Plant-based options remain niche, but pronounced among younger consumers
    • Augment messaging around health
  9. Cheese Consumption

    • Unchanged consumption rates suggest people are sticking to the familiar
      • Figure 20: Cheese consumption, 2022 versus 2021
    • Younger generations eye both dairy and non-dairy cheeses
      • Figure 21: Cheese consumption, by generation, 2022
    • Financially challenged consumers more likely avoiding natural cheese
      • Figure 22: Cheese consumption, by financial situation, 2022
  10. Cheese Varieties Eaten

    • Use the familiar to broaden cheese varieties used
      • Figure 23: Cheese varieties eaten, 2022
    • Room to grow younger generations’ variety usage
      • Figure 24: Cheese varieties eaten, by generation, 2022
  11. Cheese Purchase Factors

    • Natural cheese is set for success
      • Figure 25: Cheese purchase factors, 2022
    • Fuel consumers’ flavor quest with pairing suggestions
      • Figure 26: Cheese purchase factors, by generation, 2022
    • Healthy messaging can resonate with parents and nonparents alike
      • Figure 27: Cheese purchase factors, by parental status, 2022
    • Support budget-conscious consumers
      • Figure 28: Cheese purchase factors, by financial situation, 2022
    • Tie the familiar reassurance into a value message
      • Figure 29: TURF Analysis – Cheese purchase factors, 2022
  12. Cheese Consumption Occasions

    • Lean into health to boost cheese’s snackability
      • Figure 30: Cheese consumption occasions, 2022
  13. Consumer Cheese Behaviors

    • Versatility, variety, win
      • Figure 31: Consumer cheese behaviors, 2022
    • Reduce the risk of wasting unfamiliar cheese options
      • Figure 32: Eating cheese on-the-go, by financial situation, 2022
    • Encourage creativity with cheeses and blends
      • Figure 33: Eating cheese, by generation, 2022
  14. Attitudes toward Cheese

    • Build usage and loyalty directly with the cheese consumer
      • Figure 34: Attitudes toward cheese, 2022
    • Parents looking for more from cheese brands
      • Figure 35: Growing sales of cheese, any agree, by presence and age children in household, 2022
    • Sustainable/ethical messaging resonates with parents
      • Figure 36: Opinions of the impact of cheese production, any agree, by parental status, 2022
  15. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

      • Figure 37: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 38: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 39: Total US retail sales and forecast of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 40: Total US retail sales of cheese, by segment, at current prices, 2020 and 2022
      • Figure 41: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 42: Total US retail sales and forecast of natural cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 43: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 44: Total US retail sales and forecast of processed cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 45: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 46: Total US retail sales and forecast of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 47: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 48: Total US retail sales and forecast of cottage cheese, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
  17. Appendix – Companies and Brands

      • Figure 49: Sales of cheese, by company, 2021-22
      • Figure 50: Multi-outlet sales of natural cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 51: Multi-outlet sales of processed cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 52: Multi-outlet sales of cream cheese/cream cheese spreads, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 53: Multi-outlet sales of cottage cheese, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
  18. Appendix – Consumer

      • Figure 54: Average annual household spending on cheese, 2017-22
  19. Appendix – Retail Channels

      • Figure 55: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2017-22
      • Figure 56: Total US retail sales of cheese, by channel, at current prices, 2020 and 2022
      • Figure 57: US supermarket sales of cheese, at current prices, 2017-22
      • Figure 58: US sales of cheese through other retail channels, at current prices, 2017-22
  20. Appendix – TURF Methodology

      • Figure 59: TURF Analysis – Cheese purchase factors, 2022
      • Figure 60: Table – TURF Analysis – Cheese purchase factors, 2022

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

Market

Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

Consumer

Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

Brand/Company

Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

Data

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