Lactalis UK & Ireland Forecasts Positive Trends for the UK Cheese Market in 2024

Source: The DairyNews
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Despite challenges from the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, inflation, and Brexit affecting cheese consumption, Lactalis UK & Ireland anticipates positive trends in the UK cheese market for 2024 and beyond.
Lactalis UK & Ireland Forecasts Positive Trends for the UK Cheese Market in 2024
As consumer confidence improves and economic conditions stabilize, the following key trends are expected:

Recovery of Branded Cheese: With the easing of financial pressures on shoppers, there's a forecasted recovery in market share for branded cheese, especially those emphasizing quality and taste, such as continental varieties. Innovation in product development, including alternative flavors and hot eating cheese, will play a crucial role in differentiating brands.

Premiumisation Driving Growth: Despite rising grocery prices, the concept of premiumisation is expected to drive market growth. Consumers may explore new ways of enjoying cheese, such as incorporating it into different recipes. Adapting and innovating offerings will be essential for the industry to cater to changing consumer demands.

Cheese as a Source of Protein: Growing interest in nutritional benefits may lead consumers to seek out cheese for its protein content. Cheese provides essential dairy nutrients, including protein, which is vital for various bodily functions. This trend aligns with consumers' increasing focus on understanding the nutritional value of their food.

Everyday Pleasures and Special Occasions: As confidence returns, consumers are likely to indulge in cheese as an affordable pleasure, not only during special occasions like Christmas but throughout the year. Speciality cheeses and hot eating cheese options provide opportunities for retailers to tap into the growing trend of 'big nights in.'

Growth in Hot Eating Cheese: Hot eating cheese is a high-grossing category, offering quick and tasty meal-time solutions. Premiumisation in this category, exemplified by products like Président A La Carte Crispy Bakes and Seriously Cheese Burgers, can further drive market growth.

Increased Use of Cheese as a Meat Alternative: Cheese plays a significant role in meat-free dishes, making it a versatile option for consumers looking to reduce their meat intake. Hot eating cheese products can serve as a tasty vegetarian meat replacement.

More Convenient Formats for Cooking: Time-poor consumers are likely to prefer convenient cheese formats like grated and sliced options, which have seen rising sales. These formats offer cooking and recipe inspiration for busy shoppers, aligning with normalized work patterns.

Greater Personalisation: New consumers entering the market may seek ways to express individuality by personalizing how they use cheese. Social media platforms like TikTok are expected to influence cheese tastes and usage, encouraging creativity in planned dishes.

As the demand for affordable indulgence continues to drive the category, a blurring of distinctions between speciality, everyday, and recipe cheese is anticipated. Lactalis UK & Ireland emphasizes the importance of monitoring trends and anticipating demand to benefit consumers and customers alike.
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
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Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.
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February 2024
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