instore - May 2018 - 40
When it comes to cheese,
less might be more
by Ryan Atkinson
here's not much to fret over these days when it comes to
cheese. IDDBA expects the category to see continued growth
throughout the year and, according to the Dairy Farmers of
Wisconsin, overall cheese sales and volume are still rising.
But don't say it can't get better.
"Every year we see that consumers continue to seek more wholesome,
less processed food and snacks is one of those areas that seems to be
a growing category in those terms," says Heather Engwall, marketing
director for Roth Cheese.
According to IDDBA's What's In Store 2018, supermarket specialty
cheeses are getting a boost from restaurants. When consumers experience a new cheese flavor during a restaurant meal, they often look
for it at retail. That has resulted in a 10.8 percent increase in specialty
cheese sales, nearly double the rate of traditional grocery store cheese.
"Artisan and specialty cheeses are far from peaking as a trend," Jim
Dimataris, directory of processor relations for the California Milk
Advisory Board tells IDDBA. "This category continues to expand with
new users coming to the category to serve millennials and Gen X
customers. Young boomers are still consuming as well, so expect this
40 * MAY 2018 * instore
category to continue to experience strong growth. Consumers are
looking to try new things and artisan cheese fits the bill, with so many
award-winning unique cheeses available today."
Meanwhile, industry experts across the board predict that snacking
cheese is a trend that has yet to peak. A Nielsen snacking study put
cheese behind only salty snacks and candy in a ranking of snacking sales.
"The snack category continues to grow," Engwall says. "It's obviously
one of those products that's sold in both dairy and deli and that helps."
But Engwall points out that, in terms of specialty cheese snacks,
branded strings and sticks that are traditionally used in the dairy
categories are losing share to private label options. In the deli section,
meanwhile, branded snack cheeses are showing category growth.
"The driving growth is coming from branded deli snacks," she says.
"That's what gave us a strong case that there is still a need and interest
for retailers to bring in a branded deli snack cheese."
ROTH CHEESE, DI STEFANA CHEESE COMPANY, ©TAN4IKK - STOCK.ADOBE.COM
Two of the stronger sub-categories in the cheese world - snacking and
specialty - are joining forces at just the right time. The combination
of snacking trends and the high-quality and relatively clean label of
specialty cheeses could be a perfect fit for this climate.
Roth's new snacking
cheese is the result of
a year-long process.