US recovery helps Mozzarella make up lost ground

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pizza Cheese United states

Global mozzarella sales pushed up beyond pre-recession levels in 2010 thanks largely to the recovery of the US economy, according to Proteus Research.

Sales of the Italian cheese increased 4 per cent in 2010 taking total volumes sold around the world to 2.5bn kg. The increase was big enough to recover the dips in 2008/2009 and take volumes above the pre-recession numbers from 2007.

Global leader

Central to the improved fortunes of mozzarella in 2010 was the recovery of the US economy in 2010.

The US accounts for about two thirds of global mozzarella production and almost all of that is destined for the domestic market – especially the restaurant and fast food trade. So when the American consumer began to eat out more in 2010 it had a big impact on global demand for mozzarella.

Meanwhile, in Europe the recovery has been much more mixed with many countries experiencing grave economic and financial difficulties. Overall European volumes remained unchanged in 2010 but a Proteus spokesperson told that this hides significant variation between countries.

Sales were strongest in countries like Germany which recovered well in 2010 but struggled in those countries, such as Italy and Spain, where economic problems have constrained spending.

Positive future

Going forward, Proteus said the outlook for mozzarella cheese is ‘pretty positive’. The pillars for this optimism are the relative strength of the US economy and the potential for mozzarella in emerging markets.

This second point is not entirely new. Proteus said mozzarella has been expanding in popularity over the past decade outside of North America and Western Europe.

But there is still significant potential for further growth in South America and Asia. One of the reasons for this is its broad range of uses.

The cheese is complementary to other food products so, for example, as the number of Domino and Pizza Hut outlets increases in Asia, so will demand for mozzarella.

And the cheese type has the advantage of being mild so it is more likely to win over consumers in countries where cheese is a relatively new food.

Proteus said the absence of significant cheese competition gives mozzarella an advantage in some emerging markets like Asia. This was not the case in Europe where the cheese had to compete against large numbers of different cheese types. But in the US where cheddar is almost all that stood in the way of mozzarella, the Italian cheese had an easier ride to the top.

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