According to a recent report* the UK is still firmly a nation of cheese lovers, with every type of cheese increasing in sales in the last 12 months and 98% of homes admitting to buying at least one product. In the last few years cheese consumption has increased drastically as has the variety available as the industry continues to adapt to consumer trends and changing tastes to ensure the British public remains a nation of cheese lovers.
Rowcliffe has been serving independent retailers since 1967 and premium supermarkets since the early 1990s, with quality cheese and fine foods. The firm was founded by Anthony Rowcliffe (who changed British attitudes to cheese), with a mission to champion and support small producers which is still at the core of the business today.
As a leading importer and distributor of premium cheese Rowcliffe has insights into the whole industry and its Marketing Expert Lisa Kerr has pulled together a list of consumer trends, predictions and flavours to look out for this year.
Cheese Trends for 2023
Switching to a healthier alternative
As cheese continues to remain a stable part of some of the most popular dishes in the UK, one trend that is expected to continue to increase in the UK is the rise of healthier alternatives to traditional cheese choices. Many consumers are switching to part-skimmed Mozzarella and Ricotta which are similar to milk when skimmed and offer an easy and lower-fat option to these classic and popular cheeses that are used in many popular dishes.
Other popular healthier alternatives that still offer all the benefits of calcium and protein, as well as vitamin B12 and other nutrients but are naturally lower in calories include Feta, Parmesan and surprisingly Camembert which is a lower calorie option to other similar soft cheeses such as Brie.
The Rise in Comfort/Nostalgic Cheeses
During difficult economic periods such as the cost-of-living crisis we often turn to comforting and nostalgic flavours and this year we are expecting to see a rise in the popularity of many traditional and vintage cheeses. One classic that is set to make a comeback in 2023 is Stilton, the stable British blue cheese that has seen its popularity dip in recent years due to the rise of other blue alternatives.
This vintage cheese has seen sales drop by 14% in the last 5 years, but experts predict that 2023 is the year Stilton sales begin to rise as consumers source nostalgic flavours and aim to make savings by eating out less and enjoying treats at home.
Cheese and Wine Pairing
Cheese and wine have a lot in common, so it is no surprise that they are often consumed together. Both have vast ranges of styles with national and regional variations and there are also many similarities with production methods such as ageing and storing processes.
Cheese and wine pairing offer the perfect way to enjoy these two popular tastes in perfect harmony and it is no surprise that pairing subscriptions have been increasing in popularity over the last few years. Many are enjoying pairing evenings instead of traditional dinner parties as the perfect way to experiment and discover new flavours and varieties of cheese and how they can complement a vast selection of wines.
It would be foolish to discuss cheese trends for the upcoming year without mentioning Plant-based and Vegan Cheeses. The popularity of these cheeses continued to soar with sales predicted to rise globally to $7bn by 2030, up from $2.5bn in 2020 according to Transparency Market Research and 2023 is expected to see more players enter the market as the quality of the cheese alternatives continues to improve.
Bold New Flavours
One trend that has remained consistent in the cheese industry in the last few years is an appetite for new flavours. Leading producers continue to experiment with popular flavours such as truffle, chilli and even nettle-infused cheeses.
Smoked cheeses are expected to be a popular flavour in 2023 along with cheddars with exterior rubs, infused Goudas and cheeses paired with sweeter flavours such as cranberry, mango, pineapple and apricot are expected to grow in popularity this year.
Charcuterie boards have seen a surge in popularity recently as the delicious and visually stunning way to impress your guests has become a rapidly growing food trend across Instagram and TikTok. The huge variety of boards and different foods available make them a visual treat and the perfect way to enjoy some of your favourite cheese whilst adding a touch of sophistication to any party.
With the option of infinite meats, cheeses, fruits, salads, olives and nuts combinations, there are endless possibilities for creating a unique charcuterie board for parties or even an intimate evening for two.
Lisa added, “At Rowcliffe we pride ourselves on being on top of the latest cheese trends to ensure we can provide our clients with the very best products and service as consumer tastes change and develop. As a nation of cheese lovers, the UK market is always evolving and the desire for new flavours and product types continues to increase in popularity.”
To find out more about Rowcliffe and our range of cheeses and fine food products please visit the website – Rowcliffe
*data from Statista, 2022