Cheese in Asia Pacific

December 2021

With consumers eating and cooking more at home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), retail sales of cheese in Asia Pacific have continued to grow, even seeing a slight sales spike in 2020. With per capita consumption rates still generally low in the region, there is great potential for further growth in cheese sales in Asia Pacific, although the cheese consumption habit still remains very much at a nascent stage in many countries in the region, particularly when compared to most Western nations.

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Key Findings

Pandemic disrupts the cheese performance

Sales of cheese in Japan declined in value terms in 2021, pulling down the overall regional performance in this year, as sales normalised following the spike in demand in 2020. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, demand for cheese significantly increased in Japan as people spent more time cooking and baking at home due to the closure of schools and businesses. However, in 2021, Japan's schools stayed open even during periods when the country was in a state of the emergency, while consumers in prolonged quarantines were also getting tired of preparing all their meals themselves and were increasingly ordering in home delivery food or opting for ready meals.

Cheese ticks some health boxes

One of the attractions of cheese for families in Asia Pacific is that they see it is a good source of calcium and protein, especially for their children. Players can also fortify their processed cheese products with added vitamins and minerals in order to add weight to their health claims. Low-fat and free-from varieties also offer additional HW attributes for cheese products.

E-commerce share remains small

While e-commerce gained share during the pandemic, it still remains a relatively small sales channel, with store-based retailing continuing to dominate. While modern grocery retailers lead the way in some countries, eg Japan and China, it is traditional grocery retailers in others, eg India and Pakistan. Mixed retailers also continue to play a key role in Japan, the region’s biggest market.

Further healthy growth expected in 2021-2026

Cheese will continue to record positive growth over the forecast period, with particularly strong CAGRs expected in China, India and Indonesia. The major category, processed cheese (excluding spread), will continue to lead sales growth in 2021-2026, accounting for almost two thirds of the new retail value.



Key findings

Regional Overview

Asia Pacific has the lowest per capita consumption of cheese
Asia Pacific to record 6% CAGRs in both the historic and forecast periods
China adds the most new value sales in Asia Pacific over 2016-2021
Processed cheese (excluding spreadable) driving sales in 2016-2021
Unpackaged hard cheese not present in most markets
Growth rates stabilise again after the spike seen in 2020
E-commerce makes major share gains during the pandemic…
…but store-based retailing continues to dominate sales


Concentration increasing in the Chinese cheese market
Japanese companies losing share at a regional level

Leading Companies and Brands

Only the multinationals work across the region
Milkground continues moving up the rankings in 2021

Forecast Projections

Healthy growth rates expected for cheese in Asia Pacific in 2021-2026
Processed cheese will continue driving the overall performance
China, India and Indonesia to see dynamic 2021-2026 growth

Country Snapshots

China: Market Context
China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Hong Kong, China: Market Context
Hong Kong, China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
India: Market Context
India: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Indonesia: Market Context
Indonesia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Japan: Market Context
Japan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Malaysia: Market Context
Malaysia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Pakistan: Market Context
Pakistan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Philippines: Market Context
Philippines: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Singapore: Market Context
Singapore: Competitive and Retail Landscape
South Korea: Market Context
South Korea: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Taiwan: Market Context
Taiwan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Thailand: Market Context
Thailand: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Vietnam: Market Context
Vietnam: Competitive and Retail Landscape


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