It said trends include new emerging flavors, classic dishes getting an upgrade with specialty cheese and more.
Wisconsin Cheese said millennial and Gen Z foodies are looking to recreate classic comfort dishes with a new upgraded twist, and said adding specialty cheese is one of the easiest ways to level up dishes.
It suggests recipes such as Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread, Monte Cristo Swiss Strata, Italian Pasta Salad, Maple Cheddar Dutch Baby and The Ultimate Queso Dip – which all top the list for the hottest recipes of the year – on WisconsinCheese.com.
Wisconsin Cheese said upcycling leftovers is another top trend. Food waste is estimated at between 30% and 40% of the US food supply, according to the USDA. While consumers look to reduce food waste in their own homes, they're looking for new ways to use leftovers. This can include upcycling Parmesan rinds for broths, sauces, and risotto, or to make infused olive oil. Any cheese that goes untouched from a cheese board or at-home recipe can be used to make Fromage Fort the next day.
While travelers have stayed grounded during the pandemic, they learned they don't have to leave home to taste and experience the world's best food. Many cheese shops carry a variety of cheeses with German, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, and Hispanic roots for consumers who want to explore something new and expand their taste buds.
"If you want great cheese, you don't have to travel to Europe these days," said Ken Monteleone of Fromagination cheese shop.
"For people who love cheese and are interested in exploring the intersection of food and travel, there is no better place to start than in Wisconsin because it is a world of cheese in just one state. Our cheese shop along with a handful of others offer shipping nationwide so that you can enjoy a little wedge of Wisconsin no matter where you are."
When it comes to new flavors, Wisconsin Cheese said cheesemakers are constantly developing new, delicious cheeses including some with serious heat that consumers currently crave. In 2021, buffalo flavored cheese sales grew 145.2% and ghost pepper infused cheese increased 45.8%.
Wisconsin Cheese said gathering in small groups or meeting online for virtual events, coming together over a cheese board is a trend that is here to stay. The Cheeselandia community has more than 4,000 members who stay connected on social media and join monthly virtual events to get a behind the scenes look at creameries, meet cheesemakers, cook with top rated chefs, learn from cheesemongers and more.
"Cheeselandia offers people a way to meet new friends and discover new destinations without ever having to leave home, giving members a sense of community and belonging while bonding over a shared love of cheese," said Suzanne Fanning, senior vice president for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and chief marketing officer for Wisconsin Cheese.
"We have exciting things planned for the year ahead and we're excited to see cheese continue to bring people together."