Although cheese shows a positive outlook globally, there is a wide range of opportunities to accelerate the growth of the category over the coming years, particularly in Western Europe. This report delves into ways to create value-added cheese to reach the market potential. It explores opportunities around more targeted cheese products, evolving consumption occasions and innovative formats to increase brand appeal, as well as how to create a connection with the consumer from a personal angle.
Although cheese is expected to move in a positive direction over the next five years, its growth is set to be slower than other mature categories, such as yoghurt. Stagnation, particularly in Western Europe, is the main factor responsible, which creates the need to explore innovative ways to speed up the growth of the category.
The nutritional profile of cheese makes it relevant for targeting towards children, the older population and health-conscious/fitness-oriented consumers. Indeed, cheese targeted for breakfast/snacks for children has already been explored, as well as high-protein cheese options that have recently hit the shelves in markets such as the UK and the US. Vegan cheese is also an opportunity that a number of manufacturers are currently exploring.
Innovation in terms of new formats will continue to keep consumers interested in the category, so it can be consumed as snack, breakfast or dessert. Philadelphia cream cheese desserts and Arla’s protein spoonable cottage cheese are two examples. In addition, manufacturers are increasingly targeting consumers, particularly younger generations, with bite-sized cheese, in line with snacking becoming a more prevalent part of consumers’ everyday eating habits. Drinking cheese has also appeared as a niche opportunity in Japan, with potential to be examined elsewhere.
Creating a connection with consumers is crucial to make them become much more engaged with a brand and therefore increase its appeal and their familiarity with it. Experiential campaigns and partnerships with foodservice help to increase awareness of cheese in countries such as China, where it is not part of the traditional diet.
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