New Cheese Trends Shaping the Industry
Cheese is a foundational flavor and essential ingredients in many cuisines, recipes, and products across the globe. With so many diverse flavors and applications, it has developed a vast and loyal following of fans who are always on the lookout for the next innovation. As consumers change the way they purchase and eat foods, new opportunities in the market open up, leaving room for exciting new developments in staple categories like cheese. We take a look at three trends that are shaping the industry in the New Year.
New Demand in Snacks
Snacking has always been a popular trend, but with so many consumers now working from home, often a few feet away from their kitchens, snacking has becoming more popular than ever. Cookie and cracker sales are up by nearly 30% as reported by some manufacturers, as consumers are stocking their pantry with comforting favorites and grazing throughout the day. Many are looking for healthier alternatives as their snacking habits increase, and cheese plays an essential role in providing universally-liked flavor as well as protein, vitamins, and minerals. There’s also been a major innovation push to for ready-to-eat products, including cheese-flavored popcorns, puffs and crisps.
With the drive for new cheese snacks in full swing, consumer demand for more exciting and bold flavors is on the rise. Consumers crave more adventurous flavors and specific call-outs to liven up their mid-afternoon sack breaks. Cheese combined with naturally herbaceous flavors like chive, onion, garlic, truffle and dill are increasing in popularity, and more specific flavors like provolone, Gouda, and cheddar are satisfying consumer demand. Cheese represents a diverse range of flavors and combines well with sweet and savory dishes and products at all times of the day, creating a large opportunity for manufacturer innovation.
Plant-based alternatives have been making a splash and in the food and beverage industry, and cheese is no exception. The vegan cheese market is poised to grow faster than dairy over the next several years, as health and environmentally-conscious continue to search for clean-label and sustainable products. Dairy-free cheese made from natural products like plant milk, seeds, nuts, and rice are popping up on shelves and are seen in interesting new flavors like spicy queso, smoked provolone, and tomato cayenne. Consumers who have special diets are also looking for dairy alternatives to this classic snack, propelling the market even further.
Sliced, melted dairy, or vegan, cheese is a consumer staple that continues to delight with continual innovation. Cheese-loving consumers will be excited to see their favorite food develop over the next year to include more exciting flavors, applications, and dietary needs.