Curious about what’s on the horizon for cheese consumption? Market research helps the dairy industry track and analyze data to stay ahead of food trends. Farmers looking to build stronger consumer connections can utilize consumer research to learn what motivates and inspires buyer behavior.

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin conducted an in-depth study in 2023 on the evolving consumer interests surrounding cheese, and we recently released the results in a new report. The 2024 Cheese Trends Report highlights five distinct areas:

  • Growing emphasis by cultivating connections. Today’s consumers value close relationships with family, friends, and their community. Food — especially cheese — has the power to bring people together and create meaningful moments.
  • There is a 30% rise globally in consumers eating at home versus out of home. With more people opting to dine-in, the rise of the at-home culinary haven puts extra emphasis on elevating home-cooked meals. Consumers are finding joy in sourcing and serving quality ingredients. Wisconsin cheese offers versatile options as well as recipe resources.
  • A trend toward mindful indulgence means consumers are increasingly seeking out sensory rewards. Savoring small treats can brighten the day. Because 44% of consumers’ food and beverage choices are most influenced by traditional or nostalgic flavors, cheese products can play a significant role in satisfying tastebuds.
  • There is a growing focus on global health and sustainability. Consumers are becoming more conscious of sourcing ingredients and prefer products that disclose how they were produced or grown. More producers can share their sustainability initiatives as part of product marketing. Choosing recycled and sustainable packaging also plays a role in consumer decisions. Advances in bioplastics to make biodegradable packaging from dairy waste is a welcome development.
  • Adventure and flavor frenzy are making a comeback as people embrace global cuisines. Consumers are showing growing interest in international flavors and unexpected blends, driven in part by the influence of social media on food-buying behaviors.

How farmers can use trend research

Even as viral trends encourage consumers to explore new flavor combinations and ways of presenting cheese, the human story behind the products will increasingly be seen as a premium. It’s important to connect macro trends back to the master craft of cheesemaking. Consumers appreciate skilled artisans who showcase the creative spirit that exists outside of an algorithm. According to our research, 2024 promises a dynamic fusion of tradition and innovation.

Download the report and learn more about these trends and the exciting world of Wisconsin cheese here.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
December 14, 2023
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