2021 Cheese Trends
Although cheese sales in foodservice fell due to COVID-related restaurant closures, high retail sales proved just how important cheese is to consumers. According to data from Mintel, cheese category sales grew 15% in 2020.1 COVID food trends, such as the rise in home cooking, the craving for comfort foods, and the need to keep convenient, healthy snacks on-hand for remote workers (and their kids), have highlighted the versatility of cheese.
As a healthy protein snack (particularly in a single-serve format), cheese can compete with other popular protein snacks like nutrition bars and jerky to provide satiety and support consumer fitness and weight management goals. However, it’s also valuable as an ingredient in favorite meals like pizza, tacos, and burgers.
In addition, food innovation in ingredients, processing, and sustainability is showing that the cheese category is able to respond quickly to consumers’ evolving needs. This is creating some exciting opportunities for cheese manufacturers. Here’s a look at the 2021 cheese trends that promise to boost the category:
1. Shredded Cheeses
Retail sales rose for shredded cheese as consumers switched to home cooking during the COVID lockdown. Pizza has been a top use, in addition to Mexican foods like tacos and burritos. According to cheese use data, 82% of surveyed consumers use cheese in a meal, making shredded cheese the ideal format.2 Plant-based cheese shreds are also popular and include the standard cheddar and mozzarella-style, as well as more innovative options like Violife’s Just Like Colby Jack Shreds. The versatility of shreds has made them an important household staple during the past year—a trend expected to continue into the new year.