It’s hard to imagine a world without cheese. Cheese is a foundational flavor and essential ingredient in countless dishes, recipes and products around the world. Over the last several months, consumers have changed how they shop and eat due to the ongoing pandemic, creating opportunities across markets and product categories – especially for the dairy and cheese industry.
While some industries have taken a hit during the pandemic, this is not the case for the retail cheese market. In the past year, total dollar sales of deli cheese were up over 12% to the tune of $6.9 billion in sales.
Despite these successes, 2020 was a balancing act for the cheese category. While retail sales have exploded, cheese also lost a lot of ground during the coronavirus pandemic due to huge dips in foodservice sales.
“The pandemic and the ensuing responses have sent cheese markets all over the place,” says Bill Beaton, president and CEO of Agri-Mark Inc. “From panic-buying to the government stepping in, demand has been all over the place. Record highs and lows.”
During the peak of 2020 pandemic shopping last March and April, consumers rushed to grocery stores to stockpile cheese for their upcoming quarantines. Some segments saw retail sales surge 30-70% from 2019. While this spike lasted only a few weeks, exceptionally high demand for cheese has continued while consumers are limiting their away-from-home meals.
And cheese sales are not slowing down anytime soon. According to Allied Market Research, the U.S. cheese market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of more than 5 percent through 2027.
Of the primary drivers for the high demand of cheese, the fact that more consumers are cooking at home tops the list. This has led to an increase in sales of cheeses that are convenient for meal prep and cleanup, such as pre-sliced and pre-shredded cheese.
The pandemic has emphasized consumer desire for convenience, especially when it comes to cooking. Packaged sliced and shredded cheese have become the shopper’s go-to add-on to enhance their favorite home-cooked meals – especially with the demand for more exciting flavors of cheese.
Consumers today are also more adventuresome, craving flavors that extend beyond the standard cheddar or mozzarella. Cheeses like gouda, provolone, asiago, gruyere and feta are becoming more and more common on ingredient lists for recipes to make at home.
With more shoppers flooding the cheese case, it’s time to take a look at your display. An effective system should improve product visibility and keep goods moving to boost sales and your bottom line. That’s where the SpaceGrid® II on Magna-Bar™ comes in.
All-new mounting hardware transforms existing Magna-BarÔ peg displays into efficient pusher systems that feature SpaceGrid II trays, which easily slide forward for fast and efficient stocking and conditioning. SpaceGrid II on Magna-Bar combines the performance and value of two trusted merchandising systems to maximize display space while ensuring attractive, organized displays from store open to close.
Plus, unlike pegs, the patented SpaceGrid II pusher automatically moves packaged cheese to the front, so it’s easier for customers to make selections and return them to the shelf. This system also eliminates bag tears that can be caused from pegs. Maintain pack-out and guarantee customer satisfaction with this new and improved retail solution.
With the demand for pre-cut cheese expected to continue to climb, now is the right time to make sure your cheese displays are in the best shape possible.
“While Americans are anxious to get back to their on-the-go and restaurant-going routine, I expect that eating inside the home will continue in the year to come as we try to get back to a sense of normalcy,” explains Jinny Lam, director of Tillamook County Creamery Association.
For more information on the SpaceGrid II on Magna-Bar or other pusher tray solutions from Retail Space Solutions, visit www.retailspacesolutions.com or call 1-800-279-5291.