Hold onto your seats when you hear these numbers. Cheese consumption in the U.S. has doubled since 1980 and more than tripled since 1970. Per capita cheese consumption was 38.1 pounds in 2020 and is projected to reach 43.1 pounds by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. That’s a lot more cheese that needs to be produced, which means a lot more milk that cows need to provide and a lot more whey for high-protein innovations.
Mozzarella remains the most popular cheese in America, thanks to our love of this fresh cheese on pizza and similar foods, followed by cheddar, but both have been losing share to categories such as Other American and Hispanic. Many of the cheeses in these two categories are recognized as specialty cheeses. They are gaining traction by chefs and consumers alike, all of whom want to explore new flavors and uses in their culinary adventures.
The specialty cheese market is growing at a faster pace than everyday cheeses. When it comes to cheese, consumers are willing to dig into their pockets and fork over a few extra dollars for premium product. These cheeses tend to be sold in the deli department and have shown impressive performance the past few years.
For the month of July, deli department retail cheese sales reached $772, a 4.4% increase as compared to July 2021, according to IRI. Many of these cheeses are sold as random weight products, so unit sales are not available. But when it comes to dairy department cheese, dollar sales of natural and processed cheeses were up in July 2022, as compared to July 2021, with unit sales down. And both cheese snack kits and alternative-dairy cheeses (a.k.a. plant-based cheese) had dollar and unit sales down in the month of July.
Heather Prach, director of education for IDDBA attributes the boom in deli cheese sales to July 4th holiday celebrations.
“Charcuterie education and promotions are a great way to boost both deli meat and specialty cheese sales and we see more retailers get involved with ready-made or store-made platters for easy entertaining,” she said.
Many of those specialty cheeses were recognized at the American Cheese Society’s Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., a few weeks ago. Congratulations to the winners of the ACS competition. A complete list of the 380 awards bestowed this year can be found HERE
Fun cheese fact: The world produces more cheese than coffee, tobacco, tea and cocoa beans combined according to Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
To check out some noteworthy cheese introductions, link HERE
For more cheese stats, scroll down.
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