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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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