- More than 80% of American consumers said they ate cheese either every day or multiple times a week, but over 60% said they avoid cooking with cheese at home, according to a survey from Yellow Door Creamery.
- About 70% of consumers said they would cook with cheese more often if manufacturers could alleviate its perceived negative qualities, such as lack of taste and messiness.
- Almost 70% of respondents said they wanted "more flavorful cheese products with a global influence," Ilana Fischer, vice president of innovation and strategy at Schuman Cheese, said in a statement.
Because of dropping dairy prices and issues with international trade, the U.S. currently has cheese surplus that has reached a 30-year high.The USDA announced this week that it would purchase approximately 11 million pounds of cheese, worth about $20 million, and donate it to food banks and pantries nationwide.
While that bailout impacts farmers more directly, manufacturers have opportunities to reduce the cheese glut on their end and capitalize on low input costs while they can. The survey found that almost 90% of respondents believe cheese enhances the overall taste and presentation of a dish, so demand and positive perceptions of cheese itself are there.
What's less clear is how to innovate with cheese to make the product more flavorful and convenient for at-home cooking. As in many other product segments, ethnic and exotic flavors have become more popular, and cheese is no exception. Incorporating more exotic cheeses and cheese blends into prepared products, such as refrigerated entrees or frozen foods could help farmers and manufacturers move more cheese while delivering the flavor and appearance cheese brings to a dish.