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3 cheese trends to watch in 2021

Cheese continues to appeal as both a standalone snack and as an added ingredient. Picture: Pexels (Engin Akyurt)

Cheese continues to appeal as both a standalone snack and as an added ingredient. Picture: Pexels (Engin Akyurt)

Published Jan 28, 2021


Who doesn’t love the comfort food factor that cheese brings to any dish?

When it comes to cheese, everyone has a favourite.

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Whether it be gouda or havarti, cheese continues to appeal as both a standalone snack and as an added ingredient.

But what new sorts of cheesy trends do we have to look forward to this year?

We went to find the answers and got them from Bluegrass Ingredients who detailed that in a product category as broad as cheese, there are bound to be winners and losers as consumer preferences shift.

New demands for new cheese snacks

Snacking was a growing trend before Covid-19. Now, with many more people working just a few feet from the kitchen, snacking is more popular than ever.

With the decline in takeout at the office, restaurant dining, and school lunches, people are stocking their pantries with comforting snacks and grazing more throughout the day.

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Not surprisingly, cheese is a central ingredient in many of those snacks.

But the snacking trend goes beyond cheat foods and addicting cheesy flavours.

Many consumers are seeking out healthier snacks.

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They’re focused on portion control rather than giving in to one more handful of chips.

In many snack products, cheese plays a critical nutritional role as a filling source of protein and vitamins, and minerals.

There’s also been a major innovation push to the concept and develop healthier, ready-to-eat cheese products, including cheese-flavoured popcorns, puffs, and crisps.

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Bolder flavours with more specific cheese ingredients

With the drive to innovate new cheese snack products comes a demand for more exciting flavours.

Consumers today crave more adventurous flavours and more descriptive, branded products.

Food manufacturers are looking for more specific cheeses to offer tailored tastes beyond the standard cheddar or mozzarella flavours.

Cheeses like gouda, provolone, asiago, gruyere, and feta are becoming more and more common on ingredient lists and as part of mouth-watering product names and descriptions.

Cheese is a major force in this trend thanks to its high profile with consumers – most people agree that cheese makes things taste better, so brands are quick to play up the ingredient in describing their products.

Plant-based cheese is ready for the spotlight

A third area where cheese is poised to serve as a prime ingredient in a major food industry trend is in the meteoric rise of plant-based alternatives.

The vegan cheese market is poised to grow faster than dairy cheese over the next several years.

Consumers are hungry for plant-based options as well as the clean labels and more sustainable supply chains that come with them.

Though plant-based cheese still represents a very small portion of the overall cheese market, there's a significant opportunity for growth.

Plus, cheese is just as delicious on a plant-based burger as it is on beef or turkey burger.

As is the case with other trends, incorporating cheese into products and recipes for other plant-based proteins and ingredients can serve as a major selling point.

On this front, cheeses of the dairy and non-dairy varieties are well-positioned to impact the unprecedented market potential of plant-based products.

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