Five trends in the U.S. cheese industry are that standard flavors (such as cheddar and mozzarella) continue to contribute to the majority of market growth, the increasing interest in international flavors, a growing fascination with cheese boards, the increasing popularity of hot & spicy cheese flavors, and the high demand for cheese snacks. Below is an overview of the findings.
1. Standard Flavors
- Standard flavors such as cheddar and mozzarella continue to account for the bulk of market growth.
- According to Technomic’s Menu Monitor, traditional cheeses are still at the top the charts with Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar, Provolone, and Feta appearing as the top five kinds of cheese on U.S. restaurant menus.
- While per capita consumption of American-style natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby and Jack cheeses rose from 11.7 pounds in 1995 to more than 15 pounds in 2017, the per capita consumption of natural Italian-style cheeses such as Mozzarella rose from 10 pounds to more than 15 pounds.
2. International and Unique Flavors
- The interest in exotic tastes from other cultures such as Filipino, Lebanese, and Greek Halloumi profiles is soaring among consumers in the U.S.
- International herb-notes are “adding zest to cheese, including Middle Eastern spice mixes such as za’atar.”
- Consumers find international flavors such as mango and citrus ginger also interesting as it is new and unique.
- Cheese flavor notes like chia or quinoa seed or profiles with kale and spinach and other healthy super-greens “resonate with wellness attributes.”
- Turmeric cheese grabbed the attention of health-focused consumers as there has been an 800% increase in Google searches on turmeric with 580 published human studies on its benefits.
3. Cheese Boards
- With more than 237,000 images of cheese boards on Instagram, “Instagram-worthy cheese boards are a growing trend among millennials.”
- Similar to baked goods and homemade bread, the fascination of digital-savvy young people with cheese plates seems to be increasing especially because no recipe needs to be followed to make a cheese plate unlike the other two.
- The activity is therapeutic and carries the “values of community, intimacy, and domesticity, all of which can often feel as though they’re under threat by modern life.”
4. Hot and Spicy
- As people have an increased tolerance for heat, hotter spices are getting popular and causing the demand and craving for hot and spicy cheese to soar.
- Robust Cheddar “speckled with fiery cayenne and chili or cheeses enriched with Bhut jolokia, commonly known as ghost pepper and once considered the world’s hottest pepper,” are the flavors in demand.
- Chad Galer, “former dairy farmer and microbiologist with the National Dairy Council specializing in cheese”, identified a small increase in cheese infused with savory flavors such as curries and spices associated with Greek and Middle Eastern food and hot pepper cheeses.
- As per the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, “hot and spicy flavors continue to dominate trend forecasts.” The latest cheese flavors include spices such as sriracha, ghost pepper, and Carolina Reaper peppers.
5. Snacking on Cheese
- Rachel Kerr of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board in Dairy Foods Magazine stated, “High protein snacks like cheese are trending upward in large parts by Millennials and Generation X.”
- Products such as “100% cheese crisps and ‘tortillas’ made completely of cheese are introduced to the market to satisfy consumer demand for convenient, portable low carbohydrate, high protein snacks and meal additions.”
- Some examples of cheese snacks that are in high demand are cheese in new shapes such as single-serve ricotta cups, RifRaf that can be eaten out of a bowl with a spoon in sweet (wildflower honey, Meyer lemon) or savory (Serrano pepper honey, sun-dried tomato) flavors and dehydrated cheese snacks that are crunchy and have concentrated cheese flavors.
- “The NPD Group reports that cheese is the fastest-growing savory snack between meals. Specialty producers are capitalizing on the trend with new products including Carr Valley Cheese’s Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Stix and BelGioioso’s Provolone Cheese & Genoa Salami Snacking Rolls.”
American Processed Cheese Trends
Processed American Cheese is melting away, and apparently, millennials are being blamed. The popular dairy products are rapidly losing fans, that even America’s food outlets are making changes and replacing it with fancier cheeses. These changes have decreased sales, and the price has dipped below $4 for the first time in seven years.
1. Per Capita Consumption
- Per capita consumption of American processed cheese reached 5.16 pounds in 2017, which is the highest level since 1996.
- Although IRI retails sales data showed a 3.8% decline between 2017 and 2018, declining retail sales have been offset by the increased use of American processed cheese in the foodservice sector in meal preparation. For example, Pizza hut has added 25% more cheese to its menu, with American cheese stuffed pizza crust available at 6,000 locations, which require an additional 150 million pounds of cheese.
2. America’s Food Outlets
- America’s food outlets are abandoning the century-old American processed cheese and replacing it with fancier cheeses.
- Pizza became more popular as Italian cheese production in the US eclipsed that of American, especially with the rise of fast-casual pizza chains that are starting to offer similar blends of quality and speed in the vein of Chipotle.
- Another rising giant in Italian cheese is US production of Parmesan-style cheese, which has grown faster than any other type, besides mozzarella.
- Wendy’s now offers asiago.
- Panera sells grilled cheese that combines fontina, cheddar, monteau, and smoked gouda.
- McDonald’s has ditched the artificial preservatives in their American cheese.
3. Blame on Millennials
- Millennials are being blamed for the death of American Cheese.
- Millennials are demanding nourishment from ingredients that are both recognizable and pronounceable.
- Processed cheese has been in decline for quite some time, especially with millennials, who want food products made with fewer and more natural ingredients.
4. Decline in Prices at Grocery Stores
- Prices at the grocery store for processed American cheese have been slipping for the first time since 2011.
- According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, American processed cheese, per lb. (453.6 gm) is dipping below $4 a pound.
- At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, 500-pound barrels of cheddar used to make American cheese “are selling at a record discount” to purveyors who cube them up and turn them into party platters.
5. Lose of Grounds for Major Brands
- Kraft’s Iconic American Cheese is losing ground in today’s America.
- Kraft Singles are eroding its appeal for modern consumers, who prioritize fresh ingredients and have a vested interest in how their food is produced.
- According to Peter Cotter, the general manager of cheese and dairy for Kraft Heinz, Kraft Singles sales are flat, even though about 40 % of the US households still buy them.
Cheese Competitive Landscape-Cooper
Cooper Cheese positions itself as a brand for families and highlights itself as a brand that is preferred by households. The fact that the cheese melts better than any other cheese in the market is what differentiates the company from its competitors. More information on the topic has been presented in the attached spreadsheet.
COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE OF COOPER CHEESE
- Cooper Cheese has been recognized as a melty cheese. Customers can slice it, shred it, cube it, and melt it.
- The cheese has the sharpness of cheddar with a hint of salty Parmesan. Cheddar is the main component used to develop the “sharp American” cheese.
Target Audience :
- Cooper Cheese is targeting cheese lovers across America by sharing its recipes on the company website.
- The company has earned brand loyalty, especially in the northeast region of America, due to its unique and high-quality taste.
- Cooper Cheese is also targeting restaurants that use cheese a lot. For example, Matey’s Cheesesteaks, Bethlehem Brew Works, Bon Appetite, and others.
- The company is also targeting families at large.
Primary Message :
- The main brand message of Cooper Cheese is “MAKE IT YOURS.”
- Another brand message of Cooper Cheese is “CREAMY, FLAVORFUL, PERFECTLY MELTY.”
- “Our hero, your hero”-themed messages are used by the company to market its products.
- The company also promotes its cheese on Twitter. The messaging used on Twitter is “Premium Sharp American deli cheese. Go ahead, indulge.”
Key Message :
- Kiah Simon is Cooper’s associate brand manager. He has posted messages for behind-the-store deli cases. The messages have been presented below.
- “The special formula is a secret recipe they’ve been using for decades.”
- “The formula is hand-selected and aged for between 100 to 180 days.”
- The brand has an extremely amicable personality that tries to connect to the masses. The company tries to engage people with the brand through friendly statements such as “Our hero, your hero.”
- The company offers several experimental options with the cheese in the form of mixing for products such as sandwich and burger.
- According to the company, Cooper Sharp White adds an irresistible flavor to any sandwich as it works as a snack on its own. Its taste is creamy, flavorful, and perfectly melty.
The company offers the following products:
- Cooper Sharp White — Cooper Sharp White adds an irresistible flavor to any sandwich or snacks.
- Cooper Sharp Yellow — Cooper Sharp Yellow is good for a golden nacho cheese sauce or creamy mac and cheese.
- Cooper Sharp Black Pepper — Cooper Sharp Black Pepper is used in sandwiches, grilled cheese, and salad.
- The company positions itself as a brand for families and highlights itself as a “family traditional brand preferred by households.”
- One of the standout features of the company’s cheese that differentiates it from its competitors is that it melts better than any other cheese in the market and doesn’t have the odd aftertaste of plastic that can come with wrapped slices.
- The company leverages a parchment paper that averts the cheese slices from getting agglutinated. However, most delis in the market give everything in one big stack, causing the slices to get stuck.
- The company’s American cheese products wield an extremely positive perception among the customers and the third parties. Almost all the reviews found on the company’s American cheese in the public domain were positive in nature.
- The examples of the reviews are presented below.
- “The flavor was completely different from any American cheese I’d had before. It had the sharpness of cheddar and a hint of salty Parmesan”.
- “Not to mention, it was impossibly creamy. It seemed to melt on my tongue, and I craved it again the moment I was done eating it.”
- “It doesn’t give an odd aftertaste of plastic that can come with wrapped slices.”
- A review by a client on Wegman Food Market Store’s website: “My husband and I rarely agree on a cheese for sandwiches, but don’t have to worry about that anymore, now that we’ve found Cooper cheese! Simple ingredients, excellent flavor, and perfect meltability at a price that’s worthy of its quality. Never going back to subpar commercial cheese product again!”
- Cooper has done experiential marketing in the form of the Cooper Food Truck in 2019. They organized an event at Buffalo that was called the Taste of Buffalo.
- In that event, they organized different games. They provided different types of food and grilled cheese samples to the participants.
- Cooper Food Truck was again organized in 2019 as ‘MyTownMyCooper @RocJazzFest’ at Rochester International Jazz Festival. The company again organized the games and provided the food and grilled cheese samples to the participants.
- On July 1, 2019, the Cooper Food Truck rolled into the Red Wings gametown.