The following content originally appeared in issue 66 of Dairy Innovation, which you can subscribe to here.
In terms of production, the global cheese category is growing at a rate of approximately 2% year on year and reached around 22 million tonnes in 2014 (source: International Dairy Federation). The principal regions of output were the European Union at just under half of this volume, and the US at approximately a quarter of this total.
The markets of Turkey and Russia showed the most considerable increases in production last year, well into double digit growth for the latter as a result of trying to ensure self-sufficiency following a ban on imports, a turn of events that had considerable ramifications on global cheese trade. Knock-on effects of this are still being felt.
Cheese consumption meanwhile accounts for a reported 13% of global dairy consumption, with West Europe and North America the biggest consumers per head and the most mature markets. Here there is an emphasis on convenience, snacking and pre-packed cheese, in addition to growth in speciality cheeses and a decline in processed cheese. Developing markets such as Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa demonstrate an increased familiarisation with cheese, predominantly processed cheese. There is also a growing focus on children, brand orientated products, and growth in private label cheese.
Health consciousness continues to play a role in consumer choices with a trend towards cheeses with low fat content (for example, Valio’s Valio Better light quark, rapeseed and butter offering in Finland) and snack-sized portions. Indeed, snacking appears to be an increasingly emerging theme, with numerous product launches in sliced or cubed format (for example, Bel UK’s Mini Cravings and Dairy Crest’s Selections mini bag in the UK), and even in snack packs combining cheese with fruit, nuts or meat (for example, Sargento Foods’ Balanced Breaks and Volpi Foods’ Roltini (mozzarella wrapped in salami, pepperoni or prosciutto) in the US).
Convenience and provenance both continue to feature strongly among the cheese category, with sliced and grated cheese gaining momentum (for example, Société Roquefort’s Roq’Croque in Spain), and local cheeses also gaining favour with consumers. The category is also marked by brands oriented towards indulgence, Kraft Foods’ Philadelphia brand witnessing the addition of a Deliciously Whipped variant to its popular line of soft cheeses in the UK. Other innovations in the cheese sector include Totem Foods’ frozen mascarpone offering in Italy, introduced to the market following the success garnered by its ricotta, gorgonzola and truffle variants.
Cow’s milk cheese alternatives have also shown themselves to be growing in popularity, goat’s milk cheese, sheep’s milk cheese and mixed milk cheese (for example, halloumi) are all witnessing growth in demand. Hispanic and strong, spicy flavours are also on the incline – these can be used to complement various dishes or on their own (for example, The Co-operative Foods’ Baking Iberico Cheese Cubes with Orange & Chilli designed for cooking purposes).
Looking ahead, the global cheese sector should continue to demonstrate year on year growth of approximately 2% to 2024, according to the International Dairy Federation. Convenience and snacking are expected to drive innovation and margin.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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