Digital is one of the hottest trends in cheese now and for the foreseeable future. From Instagram recipes gone viral to virtual tastings to posting charcuterie board beauty shots, cheese is a social media sensation.
Gelson’s Markets Specialty Cheese Category Manager Gayle De Caro, who expects to see her customers continuing to look to social media for fun and simple cheese recipes, points to a recent Instagram post featuring a baked feta dish with cherry tomatoes, olive oil and spices that went viral. As a result, feta was “selling off the shelf” at Gelson’s she says.
The Encino, Calif.-based grocer’s cheese department has also benefited from its virtual wine and cheese tastings. One of Gelson’s three American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional’s works with the wine buyer to create a cheese and wine pairing, which the cheese specialist then presents via Zoom. “From a cheese perspective, this is an excellent platform to reach a large number of high-valued, loyal customers, especially at time when we cannot offer samples in the stores,” says De Caro.
Josh Zodikoff, senior category manager for foodservice for The Save Mart Cos., also sees shoppers increasingly experimenting with cheese and charcuterie boards, hosting virtual cocktail parties and sharing their creations online.
“Popular viral social media recipe videos are contributing to growth of the category and our sales,” he says. “We are seeing more and more people, spanning many different age groups, building cheese and charcuterie boards and posting to all forms of social media. We are noticing young adults, and even teens, joining in on the fun to create their own cheese boards. The influence and impact social media videos and recipes continue to have on the cheese category has been a big surprise—touching all aspects of the business from the producer to the buyers to our store sales.”