US Cheese Market Evolves
Shifting consumer perspectives have pushed cheese deeper into competitive snack market
A growing preference for natural, authentic cheeses and continued demand for convenience are reshaping the cheese industry, as reported in Cheese: US Market Trends and Opportunities from market research firm Packaged Facts.
In recent years, marketer positioning of cheese as a natural and protein-packed alternative to processed snacks in the shelf-stable aisles have made cheese a growing contender for the snacking dollar. Brands have been capitalizing on this opportunity by packaging their cheese in more convenient forms for on-the-go snacking for adults and children.
The evolution of cheese into a packaged snack food option has led to the introduction of different types of cheeses, sometimes with newfangled flavor profiles. Natural cheeses positioned as wholesome and sustainable (organic, local, grass-fed) yet still indulgent and flavorful have resonated with today's consumers. While the cheese market remains dominated by large producers, demand for novel and artisanal cheeses has allowed smaller label cheeses to claim their place at the table. In addition, store brands remain a market force, accounting for over 40% of dollar sales, according to this Packaged Facts report.
"Product assortment balance is important," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "While artisanal and more specialized cheeses are becoming more popular, that doesn't mean that people are dropping standards such as cheddar and mozzarella, which continue to account for the bulk of market growth."