Another location to watch is China, where retail cheese sales are forecast to grow by 11% through 2025.4 Driven by an increase in consumption and spending, cheese is expected to be the fastest-growing dairy category in China in the coming years. Investments from some of the largest domestic dairy companies such as Yili have been ramping up.
What Consumers Are Looking for in Cheese
Consumers are buying cheese for a variety of reasons, ranging from nutrition to convenience to taste. At the same time, regular cheese consumers are developing new interests and expectations when it comes to cheese options in the market.
In Europe, for example, sustainability is becoming more important, as seen from the rise in environmental and ethical claims on packaging for cheeses. In the Americas, natural and clean label cheeses are growing more popular. However, the strongest driver right now is health, and each of the top 2023 cheese trends touches on this important consumer concern.
Cheese for Snacking
One in three US cheese consumers is eating cheese as a healthier alternative to other snacks and treats.5 Cheese brands globally have been tapping into consumers’ growing interest in healthy snacking by promoting the nutritional benefits of cheese, from protein to calcium to keto-friendly. In addition, manufacturers are innovating around exciting and locally-inspired flavors to appeal to snacking consumers, particularly in Asia.
More consumers are also reaching for cheese for functional benefits. For example, 64% of Chinese consumers think cheese is good for their immunity.6 But opportunity is also high for cheese with added functional ingredients. In the UK, Benecol has launched a low-fat, cholesterol-reducing cream cheese that uses plant stanols. In the US, 27% of cheese consumers who are parents say they would try a cheese with better-for-you claims.7