Bold Cheeses Lead Deli Demands

It’s got a great backstory. It’s known for its boldness, but it’s better if it’s clean.

It’s not a prime time network television show: it’s the trend in the U.S. cheese market. According to the annual What’s in Store 2013 trends report from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), consumers are seeking bold flavors with intriguing narratives behind the craftsmanship. A clean label, with simpler ingredients, is appreciated as well.

IDDBA’s What's in Store publication cites research from market research firms like Euromonitor, and its conclusion that consumers are interested in trying distinctly – and often robust -- flavored cheeses, ranging from spicy to piquant to fruity. According to that research, other popular flavor notes right now include coffee, lavender and honey.

The positive takeaway for retailers is that consumers seems to be heading to the service deli area to find specialty cheeses with such profiles, including locally-produced cheeses with backstories that are relevant and interesting. The buzz is based on solid numbers: according to What’s in Store, sales of specialty cheeses over the past year have increased 6.6 percent.

And then there is the big picture, also of interest to deli operators and grocers: Euromonitor International projects cheese sales in this country grow around one percent annually to $19.6 billion by 2016.

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