Life Is Great. Cheese Makes It Better.

Cheese continues to be a successful category and the object of desire for many. Canadians take their cheese seriously, with 86% saying that cheese is a planned purchase and if their preferred brand is not available, they will wait until it is back in stock.1  All Canadians have and will eat cheese at some point, leaving penetration at its max point; the path to growth will be led by new opportunities to consume cheese more frequently.

Packaged cheese is by the far the largest segment within the category, representing a 60% dollar share or $3B and growing at +5%.2  Most consumers are making their cheese purchases at grocery stores – with an even split between channels: 48% of consumers buy at conventional grocery and 47% buy at discount. Within the grocery store, 81% of consumers are purchasing from the dairy section, however 1/3 are also purchasing from the deli counter and another 1/3 are purchasing from dedicated artisanal cheese counters. This spread of merchandising locations reflects consumer education and product selection are leading factors in growth.3

Current trends being highlighted in the category are:

·  Expanded occasions – the versatility of cheese will be its winning factor. The vast array of domestic and imported varieties fulfills all need-states and occasions – from basic snacking to elaborate recipes and boards.

·  Familiar flavours – flavoured cheeses are an important segment to the category, but consumers will reach for familiar flavours before unique flavour innovation. Familiarity is a safe buying strategy, especially for specialty cheeses.

·  Variety in variety – cheddar continues to hold a large share of our fridge deli drawers, but expanded knowledge has consumers trying different varieties. Domestic artisanal brands are showcasing stellar cheeses that spotlight small-scale farmers and producers. Meanwhile, access to imported cheese varieties from several different countries allows for global exploration without buying a plane ticket.

Cheese has not been immune to ongoing pricing concerns, but the pièce de resistance of this category is its flexibility between nourishment and indulgence. While cheese plays an important role in adding protein, calcium, and several other nutrients to our diet, it also provides enjoyment. The plethora of varieties, flavours and milk types leaves ample choice for everyone’s permissible indulgence.

1 Caddle Cheese Shopping Insights, March 2023
2 Nielsen Canada, All Channels, Natl 52wks Dec 30 2023
3 Mintel Canada, Cheese, 2022

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