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.

global cheese market glanbia nutritonals family

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Healthy snacking cheese is cheese in a convenient, portable format, available in a small serving size, that delivers nutritional or even functional benefits. Healthy snacking cheeses range from traditional string cheese that comes individually wrapped to next-gen cheese snacks like baked or dried 100% cheese bars, puffs, and crisps. 

While all cheese is known for the nutritional benefits of protein and calcium, some newer snacking cheeses in the market (“plus” cheeses) also offer extra nutrients like vitamins A and B12 or functional ingredients like probiotics. In addition, some healthy snacking cheeses come in exciting sweet or savory flavors, while others are paired with nuts, dried fruits, meats, and crackers in combo packs.

Healthy snacks to eat at night are foods that are convenient, nutritious, and keep you full through the night. Snacks that contain protein or fiber are especially effective at providing satiety. Examples of healthy nighttime snacks are protein bars and bites, yogurts, and snacking cereals with added fiber or protein.

Some of the best food sources of vitamin D, according to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, are certain types of fish (such as freshwater rainbow trout (645 IU per serving), salmon (383-570 IU), and canned light tuna (231 IU)), as well as raw mushrooms (114-1110 IU), and fortified dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese (85-117 IU).

In fact, most of the vitamin D in Americans’ diets comes from fortified foods and beverages. Today, there is a wide variety of vitamin D-fortified products to help boost intake of this shortfall nutrient—from plant-based milks to breakfast cereals to nutrition bars.

Healthy snacks for toddlers are foods that are convenient, easy to eat, often mild in taste, and meet the nutritional needs of toddlers. According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a toddler’s diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, and protein foods—and that includes snacks.

Since iron and zinc are especially important at this stage of life, healthy snacks for toddlers, as well as toddler meals, might be fortified with these and other essential nutrients. Today’s most popular healthy snacks for toddlers include fruit and vegetable purees, yogurts, cereals, cereal bars, and snack crackers.


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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