Perhaps the biggest news in the cheese market over the past year has been the emergence of the adult snacking sector.
Currently worth £19.5m, the adult snacks market is only one eighth of the size of the children’s category but is recording growth of 20% year-on-year, according to The Cheese Report from Dairy Crest.
Kerry Foods marketing manager Peter Elvin says: “Cheese is a great hero for nutritious, healthy snacks for adults as well as kids.”
Kerry Foods launched its Golden Vale Brunchettas in September 2004, marketing the packs of crunchy Italian breads, sliced cheese and relish as portable “anytime delicatessens”. According to Elvin, the brand has achieved sales of £5.2m in its first year.
Initially launched in ploughman’s and red pepper & onion flavours, the company added a soft cheese & cranberry variant in July, its first soft cheese entry to bring new users to the brand.
A recent addition to the Pilgrims Choice snacking range has been Pilgrims Choice Minis - small cheese bites packed into nets, which are intended as healthy snacks or lunchbox additions.
Mike Davies, MD at North Downs Dairy, says the company will be expanding the range early in the new year. “We believe this will help us maintain momentum in the snacking market and fulfil consumers’ demands,” he says.
Further progress in the adult cheese snacks market will be achieved by creating new products to fit different meal and snacking occasions.
Kerry Foods, for example, believes that the adult cheese snacks sector could be worth more than £50m within five years if manufacturers better positioned cheese snacks for specific eating occasions.
Cathedral City is one brand that is blazing a trail in the adult cheese snacks category. Its Cathedral City Lunch Pack, complete with Cheddar slices, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, Branston Pickle and a spatula for spreading, has achieved popularity as a complete meal option, while its Dip and Go! products are suitable for between-meal snacks or lunchbox complements, it says.
Meanwhile, Kraft recently launched its all-in-one dipping snack Philadelpia Splendips in October, aimed at the women’s lunchbox category.
Three variants were launched - chives, with chive crackers and a tomato chutney dip, nachos with a mild salsa dip and a sweet cheesecake flavour that comes with mini-digestives.
According to Kraft, the cheesecake variant has reached sales of £47,000, since its launch, with the chive flavour recording sales of £94,000.
And, according to Dairy Crest, growth within the adult snacking sector has also had a positive impact on more traditional cheese products, resulting in a marked increase in shoppers’ cheese repertoires as they buy across a range of segments.