Cheese Trends Shaping 2018
Trend spotters in the food industry are sniffing around to find out what’s in store for cheese this year. As a dynamic food, cheese not only drives consumption, but also impacts flavor profiles in baked goods, snacks, soups and anything else complemented by this versatile ingredient. With more than two-thirds of households purchasing flavored cheese and over 283 million pounds sold in 2016 alone,1 it’s no surprise that food producers are blending, sprinkling, and dusting their products with an ever-increasing variety of cheese flavors.
The ethnic food category has grown to about 12.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, making it clear that as the US explores other cultures, an interest in exotic tastes increases as well2. This year look for global trends in cheese flavor including Filipino, Lebanese and Greek Halloumi profiles. New international herb notes are also adding zest to cheese, including Middle Eastern spice mixes like za’atar. For ingredient producers, the adventure of international flavors expands the opportunity for unique cheese flavored products.
Healthy Food Flavor Notes
Consumers often seek out food with health benefits, as they strike a positive note. As a result, flavor notes like chia or quinoa seed in cheese resonate with wellness attributes. Look for cheese profiles with kale and spinach and other healthy super-greens. However, the star health ingredient for 2018 is turmeric. With 580 published human studies on its benefits, this Indian spice has taken the food industry by storm with its thriving demand. In the last two years alone, there was an 800% increase in Google searches on turmeric3. A turmeric cheese profile will not only grab the attention of health-focused consumers, but also those seeking an exciting, new flavor note.
The Hotter the Better
The craving for hot and spicy cheese isn’t cooling down, but this year the demand will be for more than just jalapeno. Spices are getting hotter and so is their popularity. Consumer tastes are not only expanding in sophistication, but also in tolerance for heat- and cheesemakers aren’t stopping at habanero. This season, look for robust Cheddars speckled with fiery cayenne and chili or cheeses enriched with Bhut jolokia, commonly known as ghost pepper- once considered the world’s hottest pepper. For food producers, the challenge will be blending fire with flavor. Ingredient partners will truly be forging new profiles.
With the growth of foodie culture, the popularity of farmhouse cheeses has also increased. These cheeses, based on traditional recipes, are linked to specific farm regions. How does this translate into flavor? Using fermentation, ingredient partners can reproduce popular farmhouse regional profiles like Irish cheese or Dorset Cheddar. Expect a product dialed up with farmhouse Lancashire Colby to invoke more than just flavor with consumers.
For food producers, staying on trend ensures the right cheese flavor notes are always played. To achieve that, expert ingredient partners are needed to create profiles that are always in style.
DairiConcepts, L.P., is a leading international provider of innovative dairy-based ingredient solutions that include cheese and dairy powders, seasoning blends, concentrated pastes, flavor enhancers, and hard Italian cheeses. The company serves major food manufacturers, food service providers, restaurant chains, and industrial ingredient and private label food manufacturers throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia.