Creative flavours can serve as a key route for brands to engage with innovation enthusiasts and boost category spend.  Flavours can also offer cheese brands premiumisation opportunities that can provide competitive advantages in a highly cluttered market, according to Datamonitor Consumer.

In the past12 months, Mintel GNPD recorded almost 100 flavoured cheese product launches across the UK and Ireland; interestingly less than 10 per cent of launches were on the Irish market.  The top five flavours across both markets are garlic and herbs (11 per cent), pepper (6 per cent), smoked (6 per cent), onion and chive (5 per cent), and cranberry at (4 per cent).

At a European level, there were approximately 750 cheese product launches between November 12 and April 13 in Europe – a 4.5 per cent increase on the previous year.  Cheese is in fourth place in terms of category product launches preceded by chocolate, sweet biscuits and yogurt categories, according to Datamonitor Consumer.

In terms of influencing innovation in cheese, identifies the top three trends as:

  1. Connecting to the consumer where producers leverage the story behind the product
  2. Offer flavours and forms where ingredients are included that add flavour or provide some kick again communicating the story behind the flavour and why it has been added, and
  3. Focus on the nutrition facts by providing improved information and permission to indulge

By Eimear O’Donnell, Food & Beverage Division, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board