Even against a backdrop of soaring grocery sales overall, the cheese category has managed to stand out during the pandemic: According to Statista, natural cheeses garnered a whopping $13 billion in retail sales in 2020 alone. And, moving into the new year, many of the factors that drove retail cheese sales last year will continue to play a role. Here are some key strategies for grocers looking to further increase cheese sales among quality-craving customers.
Elevated home cooking
While indoor dining at restaurants has become an option in certain municipalities, many consumers aren’t ready to dine in just yet. And, according to the May 2020 report, Technomic’s Take: Consumer Perspectives and Behavior, 30% of consumers said that they and their families were tired of eating the foods they typically prepare at home—a number that has almost certainly increased as subsequent months spent social distancing have gone by.
In short, many consumers cooking at home are looking for ways to spice up their recipe repertoire—and most won’t want to invest too much time into meal prep, either. One of the easiest ways for consumers to shake up their favorite recipes is by adding in a new cheese for an out-of-the-ordinary, premium experience.
Havarti cheese, for example, is a great addition to meals. With a mild, buttery flavor, it’s easy to mix and match with different dishes, and supreme meltability makes it a go-to for consumers’ favorite comfort foods. Industry-leading Havarti producer Castello takes the experience a step further by offering authentic Havarti imported from Denmark, made with a traditional recipe for ultimate authenticity—making it a prime candidate for dressing up at-home meals.
Comfort food in high demand
For many consumers, “comfort food” and “cheese” are nearly synonymous, and current events keep comfort top-of-mind as consumers shop for their meals. According to the Oct. 1, 2020 edition of The Lempert Report, 75% of consumers say they have turned to their favorite comfort foods at least once every other day amid COVID-19, and more than half listed cheesy favorites such as pizza and macaroni and cheese among their go-to dishes.
Havarti is a welcome addition to the ever-trendy cheese board as it is to everyday recipes such as mac and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches, too. It’s a supremely versatile cheese, equally suited to special occasions and elevated recipes as it is to casual snacking or a deli sandwich on the go.
What’s more, an authentic cheese like Castello’s Havarti can be a boon to grocers’ margins, too, as many consumers say they’d pay a premium for authentic offerings, and restaurants and other foodservice operators can just as easily benefit from the elevated experience a high-quality cheese affords. Castello’s Havarti portfolio of eight different Havarti varieties is imported from Denmark and carries PGI (protected geographical indication) status. A PGI seal will be rolling out on Castello Havarti packages in 2021 to further represent the authenticity of the Danish recipe.
As grocers anticipate their shoppers seeking indulgent, easy meal options in the months ahead, high-quality cheeses, such as Castello’s Havarti cheese, offer the allure of a delicious, distinctive ingredient that’s simultaneously unintimidating to at-home gourmets of all stripes. To learn more, visit www.castellocheese.com
This post is sponsored by Arla