US cheese market to reach $27.8 billion in 2028
According to Packaged Facts’ new report Cheese: US Market Trends & Opportunities, cheese retail sales were growing steadily before the pandemic, but volume and dollar sales spiked significantly in 2020 as consumers were eating and cooking more at home. Since then, sales have remained high. In 2022, price inflation had a particularly strong effect on sales, with many consumers buying lower-priced private label cheeses to save money.
Dollar sales have benefited from price increases and premiumization as consumers bought higher-priced premium cheeses, driven by interest in natural products, those with unique flavor profiles or international origins, and the popularity of cheese boards or charcuterie boards that often feature exotic and high-end cheeses.
Packaged Facts forecasts that the US cheese retail market will grow steadily, reaching $27.8 billion in 2028. Volumes are also forecast to increase through 2028.
Snacking will continue to be an important trend supporting cheese sales. Packaged Facts’ May 2023 National Online Consumer Survey found that 52% of respondents report cheese is one of their preferred types of snacks. Cheese is also frequently paired with other popular snack foods such as crackers, fresh fruits and vegetables.
This Packaged Facts report analyzes the dynamics of the current landscape of the natural cheese retail market. Consumer demographics, perceptions, motivations, attitudes, and behavior pertaining to food, diet, health, sustainability, and product packaging are taken into account; the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumers are also analyzed in a broad sense, as well as in the context of cheese.
This report covers retail sales of dairy cheese in both value (US dollars) and volume (pounds). Dairy cheese is made with milk from cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, and other mammals. Cheese value and volume sales are both segmented by the following product forms:
- Cream & Neufchâtel
- Refrigerated Grated
- Shelf-stable Grated
- All other forms
Retail sales in this report are defined as sales of cheese from venues such as:
- Grocery stores, supermarkets, and discount grocers (e.g., Kroger, Safeway, ALDI)
- Mass merchandisers (e.g., Walmart, Target, Meijer) and warehouse clubs (e.g., Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s)
- Convenience stores (e.g., Pilot/Flying J, Circle K, 7-Eleven) and dollar stores (e.g., Dollar General, Family Dollar)
- Other retailers, such specialty cheese shops, co-ops, farmers markets, and cheese clubs/curators
- All online outlets, including online-based grocers (e.g., Amazon, Thrive Market, FreshDirect), third-party pack-and-deliver companies that use their own workforces to purchase groceries at various stores and deliver them to customers (e.g., Instacart), brands that sell their own food products direct-to-consumer via their websites, and online sales from websites or apps of retailers in the previous categories
Additionally, this report provides estimates of dairy product shipments. Dairy product shipments in nominal and real dollars are segmented by product:
- Dry, Condensed, and Evaporated Dairy Products
- Fluid Milk
- Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts
Cheese production in pounds is also provided and segmented by product category:
- Cream and Neufchâtel
The reasons for and implications of shifts in consumer perception and behavior are analyzed in the context of future market opportunities.
The report has dozens of tables showcasing numerical survey data on consumer demographics and psychographics and numerous marketing photographs. This report goes in-depth on COVID-19 and inflation trends that have affected the food and beverage market.
For more information, see the Cheese: US Market Trends & Opportunities report page.
Particular attention is dedicated to the market impact of e-commerce and the coronavirus pandemic.