Cheese snacks that talk to children in their own language have tremendous further sales potential

Having grown by £21m over the past three years, children’s cheese is one of the strongest-growing segments of the total cheese market, according to The Cheese Report from Dairy Crest, having grown 4% to £167m this past year.
Much of this growth is driven by branded innovation, which has encouraged the consumer to trade up.
But, according to Dairy Crest, a further £23m of sales can be squeezed out - just by encouraging all cheese-eating households with children to buy cheese that has been made
specifically for younger members of the family.
The category is made up of three main sections - lunchbox (£25m), meals (£34m) and
snacks (£108m). According to TNS, children’s cheese brand Dairylea is currently second in its top 10 list of cheese brands. Sarah Petts, channel and communications manager at Kraft Foods, says: “Dairylea Dunkers Jumbo Munch continues to flourish, growing from £12.2m to nearly £14m this year. This has contributed to increasing Kraft Foods’ share of the children’s snacking market to almost a third.”
The fun and convenient cheesy snack has been supported by various Dairylea brand initiatives, including the Dairylea Get Moovin campaign to encourage children to be more active, and also the message that cheese is a good source of calcium for growing children.
The latest innovation from Bel UK, The Big Cheez dipper is a larger cheese snack pot and breadsticks designed to appeal specifically to older children and teenagers.
The launch has been supported by a £1m TV advertising campaign and the product has been promoted as a more filling snack, owing to its larger than standard pot size, and as a much healthier alternative to crisps or chocolate, as it contains 8% fat.
As well as Cathedral City’s Dip and Go! another success story is Lil’ Moos, Dairy Crest’s organic cheese snacks for children. It says the mild Cheddar and Red Leicester sticks have grown sales 12.8% this year.
However, the biggest player in the kids cheese snacks market remains Golden Vale’s Cheestrings.
According to Peter Elvin, Kerry Foods marketing manager, the brand’s success is rooted in the fact that it makes a nutritious food attractive to kids by making it fun. “Kids love Cheestrings for its peelable, stringy fun and for its branding and advertising, which has consistently talked to them in their language,” he says.
According to Elvin, the company has ambitious plans for the yellow stringy tubes to continue the growth of the brand.
Increased advertising spend, new product development and larger pack sizes are all ideas in the mix.
However, with sales of processed cheese falling 3.8% as parents switch to healthier alternatives, the onus will be on companies to develop more natural products for children in the future.