Talking to DairyReporter.com, the cheese market specialist said that in the old world markets of Europe, North America and Australasia processed cheeses continue to lose out to more traditional varieties.
“Back to the farmhouse”
This is happening as consumers look to go “back to the farmhouse” and eat higher quality, authentic cheeses. The Proteus analyst said the upshot of this continuing trend is that we could see major cheese processors making acquisitions to add farmhouse cheeses to their brand portfolios in 2011.
Another shift likely to occur in the brand stables of the big processors is the appearance of more reduced fat cheeses. Lower fat varieties are taking a bigger and bigger chunk of volume in developed markets as manufacturers respond to growing concerns about health and wellness.
The Proteus analyst said that on shelves this will result in lower fat extensions of existing brands but it could also see the introduction of entirely new products such as ‘LowLow’ mature cheddar from the Kerry Group, launched in 2009.
Another much talked about offshoot of the health and wellness trend is the emergence of functional cheeses. Kraft made a big entrance into the market in 2008/2009 with probiotic cheeses under its LiveActive brand but sales were disappointing and the products flopped.
The Proteus spokesperson said he is not so sure about the potential of such products. He said fortification may work for yoghurt-like cheeses like quark and cottage cheese where consumers have health in mind when they buy. But for hard cheeses, for which taste is the key motivator and there is an awareness that the product itself is more of a treat than a health food, fortification may be inappropriate.