New research by Reportlinker.com reveals that 90% of adults surveyed consume cheese and prefer natural over processed cheese, according to a press release.
The report indicates that consumers view natural cheese as healthier and that over the last decade consumption of it has increased, while processed cheese sales have declined. US retail sales in 2013 of natural and specialty cheeses were $15.7 billion. The market has "matured" according to the report, with the economic downturn and rising costs taking a slice out of cheese volume sales.
"Cheeses made from organic milk, milk from grass-fed cows and milk free of artificial growth hormones" have experienced significant growth, the release said. Sales from organic cheese are expected to reach $750 million by 2018.
The bulk of natural cheese sales are from mass retail venues: "supermarkets, natural grocery chains, mass merchandisers/supercenters and warehouse club stores," where the most successful sales are found in "upscale" cheese departments. Store brand specialty and natural cheeses accounted for more than 40 percent of 2013 sales.
The Cheese: Natural and Specialty Cheese in the U.S. and Global Markets, 5th Edition research report employed primary and secondary research methods to obtain information on the U.S. consumer market for natural and specialty cheeses. It also contains information on processed and non-dairy cheeses and the "foodservice and global cheese markets," the release said.