Even amid soaring grocery sales, the retail cheese category has managed to stand out with remarkable sales. Retail sales of natural cheese increased 17% during the 52 weeks ending in Oct. 4 2020, according to IRI—and the growth won’t be stopping there, even once pandemic-related changes to the market have faded out. Statista predicts that the global market value of cheese will increase each year to reach an estimated $112.8 billion by 2025, and the Specialty Food Association forecasts specialty cheese sales to hit $5.5 billion by 2024.
Indulging in favorite cheeses has become one of consumers’ go-to strategies for keeping their home-cooked meals feeling fresh and craveable—whether they’re entertaining or simply preparing dinner for their families at home. Especially with warmer months ahead and widening vaccine availability making summer gatherings feasible, retailers have a prime opportunity to leverage specialty cheese sales among consumers seeking an easy way to add a gourmet flair to their favorite recipes.
Many consumers remain wary of dining out—especially with larger groups. At the same time, however, they are craving variety in new recipes and ingredients and experimenting with grilling as an outdoor entertaining option. According to Technomic’s May 2020 report, Technomic’s Take: Consumer Perspectives and Behavior, 30% of consumers said they and their families were tired of eating the foods they typically prepare at home—and now, more than one year later, that number is likely much higher.
So how do retailers toe the line between craveability and simplicity?
Using specialty cheeses is arguably one of the easiest ways for consumers to upgrade a recipe without adding too much time or extra prep work. The swaps are simple: Using a creamy Briette soft-ripened cheese instead of the standard mozzarella on pizza, or switching out the cheddar on a cheeseburger for a perfectly creamy and luxurious slice of Cambozola blue can quickly take a meal from ordinary to extraordinary.
And with grilling season underway, even cheese can become the star of the show. Grill a thick slice of Rougette Bonfire Grilling Cheese to serve as the burger patty itself, or cut it into cubes and use it in place of grilled chicken on a kebab. Add a slice to a crisp veggie sandwich, or layer it with zucchini and roasted red pepper lasagna-style and bake it—the options are endless. What’s more, making the swap can be an easy way to please consumers seeking a vegetarian alternative while still crafting a meal that satisfies.
Cheese is a crowd-pleaser in any recipe, and grilling cheese is sure to impress. And after a year spent social distancing, consumers will be pulling out all the stops to make their summer gatherings extra special. Rougette Bonfire Grilling Cheeses are produced by award-winning cheesemaker Käserei Champignon, a 100-year-old, family-owned company in Bavaria—guaranteeing quality in every bite. Available as a mild, soft-ripened cheese that turns golden and crispy on the grill and as a delicately marinated, semi-soft grilling cheese that comes in its own aluminum grill pan, consumers can find the perfect solution for themselves and their guests.
To learn more, visit thisisfinecheese.com.
This post is sponsored by Champignon North America, Inc.