Global Cheese Market Trends

Global Cheese Market Trends for 2020

See how consumers’ evolving preferences in taste, convenience, and nutrition are influencing the cheese market—plus a peek at forecast growth for the category, the fastest-growing cheeses, and key growth opportunities for manufacturers.

Overview of Global and U.S. Cheese Market

The global cheese market is forecast to reach $157 billion by 2023, up from $121 billion in 2018, according to Euromonitor.1 Natural cheese, which makes up 80 percent of the global cheese market, is forecast to grow 5.5 percent during this period. Processed cheese is expected to grow by 5.0 percent.

In the U.S., it’s estimated that the cheese market will reach $26 billion by 2023, with natural cheese driving growth at a forecast CAGR of 3.3 percent. Growth in processed cheese, however, is slowing as consumers shift toward clean label, “real food” ingredients. 

Overall, U.S. cheese production is maintaining steady growth at 2.8 percent, according to USDA reports.2 While Wisconsin leads in cheese production (followed by California), New Mexico’s cheese production is showing the highest growth.

global cheese market infographic glanbia nutritionals

What Consumers Are Looking for in Cheese

The cheese market is known for its incredible variety of products, with countless options available in terms of flavor, texture, format, and even nutrition. With that said, some distinct preferences have been emerging that impact the market. 


Hispanic cheeses are by far the fastest-growing segment in the U.S. cheese market, according to Nielsen data,3 showing 7.7 percent growth in 2019. The country’s Hispanic population growth, which continues to outpace the national average, is likely to sustain this trend for some time. In addition, interest in Hispanic cheeses among non-Hispanics is on the rise. Popular examples include Queso Fresco, Asadero, Manchego, Oaxaca, and Cotija.


Another shift underway in consumers’ preferences in product format. Packaged Facts4reports that shredded cheese is now the most popular cheese format, having overtaken chunk-type cheeses. The needs for convenience and versatility are likely contributing to this change.


Packaged Facts also notes that 20 percent of households that eat cheese are buying string cheese. This points to the inherent snackability of cheese and the potential to increase household penetration of snackable cheese formats. According to Mintel,5 77 percent of consumers view cheese as good on-the-go food, and 51 percent wish more varieties were available in portable packaging. 


Mintel also reports that 78 percent of consumers think eating cheese is a good way to add protein to the diet. With the protein trend still going strong, cheese manufacturers may wish to consider positioning some of their products as protein foods through front-of-package call-outs and other marketing efforts. Portable, snackable cheeses are especially likely to benefit from protein claims, allowing them to compete head-on with popular protein snacks such as jerky and bars.

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Choosing the Cheeses that Please 

When it comes to choosing the right cheeses to please today’s discerning consumers—consumers who expect flavor, function, convenience, and nutrition—trust Glanbia to provide the quality and variety you need. For all your cheese needs, including Hispanic and higher protein cheeses, contact Glanbia.


1. Euromonitor International. (2019). 
2. USDA NASS. (2019). Dairy Products 2018.
3. Nielsen xAOC. (2019). 52 weeks ending July 13, 2019.
4. Packaged Facts. (2019). U.S. Food Market Outlook. Retrieved from
5. Mintel. (2019). Cheese – US – October 2019. Retrieved from

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