Once again, this category reigns supreme as the one that saw the most purchases in 2016, with 33 percent of specialty food shoppers having made a purchase in the six months prior to participating in SFA’s “Today’s Specialty Food Consumer.”
Baby Boomers are especially noted as top cheese purchasers. However, with the rapid expansion of flavor profiles, exotic spices and fun infusions being launched by both big and smaller artisan cheese producers, this category is appealing to nearly every consumer for different reasons.
Millennials want unusual and artisanal cheese varieties to share with friends and entertain, so be sure to merchandise a variety of cheese boards near the cheese display. They’re also the most likely consumer group to ask staff for information about the item or the farm behind it.
Gen Xers are looking for spreads and even dessert cheeses to enhance and aid their at-home meals. Boomers, who are knowledgeable consumers and exhibit refined tastes, are shopping for unique and premium products with a quest to try something new and luxurious with premium ingredients and packaging.
Emmi Roth’s new Roth Sriracha Gouda is a global fusion of mild and sweet Dutch-style gouda mixed with spicy Sriracha flavors. Made with milk from Wisconsin dairy farms and cured for at least 30 days, it’s known for its striking red hue. Available in 10-pound wheels, it’s sweet yet spicy and pairs well with sauvignon blanc or as a melted topping.
845/596-2360 or emmirothusa.com
Cacique Queso Fresco is made from part-skim milk and not aged more than a few days, giving it a “fresh” taste. It’s a soft, moist, curd-like cheese with a light, salty and slightly tangy flavor but with mild, milky notes. In traditional Mexican cuisine, it’s used to balance rich, spicy dishes. When heated, it softens but does not melt.
800/521-6987 or caciqueinc.com
The 1/2-ounce individually wrapped Kokos Snack-Pack from Cheeseland is made with fresh pasteurized cow’s milk and a healthy dash of organic coconut cream, added for extra creaminess and flavor. It pairs with white wines, sparkling wines and dark chocolate.
206/709-1220 or cheeselandinc.com
With the convenience trend still on the rise, Alejandro On The Go snack cups from Winona Foods are designed for traveling cheese lovers. With three varieties—Cheddar, Jalapeno Cheddar and Salsa—these 1.5-ounce portion cups are sold three to a carton and have a one-year shelf life.
920/662-2184 or winonafoods.com
Montchevre’s specialty soft ripened 5-ounce Grand Truffiere is made with black truffles
imported from the Provence region in France, which adds deep earthy undertones to the goat cheese. Made with respect for traditional French techniques, it offers a smooth, creamy texture and award-winning flavor.
310/541-3520 or montchevre.com
Pine River’s Gourmet clean label cheese spreads are created from Wisconsin Grade A natural cheddar aged nine months and blended with cream, herbs and spices until smooth and spreadable. Cold Pack Cheese Food, the official name, signifies they’re made without the aid of heat. They offer a nine-month shelf life but have no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors.
800/722-4217 or pineriver.com
Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery added Hot Buffalo to its collection of flavored Cheddar Cheese Curds. Crafted from quality milk in the cheese curd capital of Wisconsin, its signature white cheddar curds are mixed with a touch of buffalo spice for a snack that resembles the classic buffalo wing appetizer.
715/273-4311 or ellsworthcheese.com
Following the success of the wildly popular Parmesan Cello Whisps, Schuman Cheese is adding Cheddar Cello Whisps, a glutenfree baked snack made with all-natural Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Packed with 10 grams of protein per serving, it comes in 2.12-ounce bags. 312/402-3424 or cellowhisps.com
Union Star Cheese has added Red Willow to its line of Willow Creek Creamery artisan cheeses. A Trappist-style cheese, it’s hand-washed with a mixture of cultures and Scottish Ale from Fox River Brewing Company in Wisconsin. It’s aged for 20 days, elevating its flavor and giving its namesake red hue. Available in 11-ounce wheels.
920/836-2804 or unionstarcheese.com
MouCo Cheese Company was founded in the Northern Front Range of Colorado and has been producing quality soft ripened cheeses since its incorporation in 2000. With a family history of 51 years, it offers five varieties: creamy Camembert, robust ColoRouge, earthy Truffello, luscious Ashley, or peppery Pepbert.
970/498-0107 or mouco.com
Hailing from Italy’s Lombardy region, Mascarpone— often referred to as Italian cream cheese—is a buttery-rich, double-cream cheese. It has an ivory color, and its velvety texture is like whipped butter. The award-winning Miceli’s Mascarpone has the versatility to be blended with flavors and is often served with fresh fruit, pastries, desserts and vegetables.
216/791-6222 or miceli-dairy.com
BelGioioso 3-ounce Mini Mascarpone (18 cups per case) and 5-ounce Mini Ricotta (12 cups per case) are all-natural cheeses that offer freshness, convenience and portion control for the consumer. These singleserve options are a protein-rich choice for a retailer’s snacking offerings.
920/863-2123 or belgioioso.com
Mainland Organic New Zealand Cheddar Cheese is a young, semi-hard cheese with a subtle, mild flavor. It’s certified by the USDA National Organic Program and is made from farm-fresh milk from grass-fed cows. It’s aged up to six months for smooth texture and taste.
888/869-6455 or mainlandcheese.com
Sartori’s new Chipotle BellaVitano is a bold addition to its line of flavor-packed cheeses. Hand-rubbed with south-of-the-border seasonings, it balances savory smokiness with a sweet and creamy base. Available in 20-pound wheels, 5-pound quarter wheels and 5.3-ounce wedges.
920/449-7963 or sartoricheese.com