Cheese trends and meeting demands
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted consumer behaviours in many ways and cheese is no exception, with a third (36%) of consumers saying they have significantly increased their intake of cheese throughout the global pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Tetra Pak.
The food processing company found this is due, in part, to the fact that we are spending more time at home, providing us with increased opportunities to eat cheese, such as when watching TV (36%), with a drink (35%) or as a quick lunch (35%).
“Cheese has been an essential part of our diet for centuries and it is set to remain so for many years to come,” said Fred Griemsmann, Vice President of Cheese and Powder Systems at Tetra Pak.
People are also very attuned to the wellbeing benefits of cheese, with survey participants acknowledging that it is healthy (56%), nutritious (51%), and high in protein (42%) and calcium (41%).
It is apparent that there is real demand from consumers to know the origins of their food, with an overwhelming majority (77%) of those surveyed expressing an interest in the process of cheese production — specifically the ingredients and where they are from (72%), where the product is made (52%), the heat treatments used (41%) and the sterile production (37%). More than a third (36%) also place particular value on environmentally friendly packaging.
“People are becoming more adventurous in terms of taste and texture, and we have the facility to accommodate this, ensuring that there is no compromise on the overall quality of the end result,” said Griemsmann.
Cheese processing lines
To meet the rise in demand, Tetra Pak has announced the development of 14 new Best Practice Lines (BPLs) for cheese manufacturers, with the first — specifically customised for cottage cheese — being already up and running.
The other cheeses that will benefit from these BPLs include mozzarella, semi-hard cheese, cheddar and fresh cheese production.
Together, these cheese types make up 79% of all cheese volumes and have a CAGR forecast of 3% over the period of 2021–2025. Two of the new lines — mozzarella and cheddar — were previewed at the Global CheeseExpo in April.
The company said the processing lines use proven equipment combined with expertise to create a safe and easy route to profitable cheese production with a higher yield, while incorporating traditional cheesemaking techniques. The hygienic production process is designed to enable a longer product shelf life, as well as consistent and replicable quality. Sustainability is also a factor, with solutions focusing on reducing water, steam and power consumption.
“Cheese is consumed on every continent around the world, and consumer appeal shows no signs of abating. In fact, it’s quite the opposite,” said Griemsmann.
“We’ve expanded and deepened our expertise and knowledge over the last decade, consolidated our proficiency and sites in the US, and recently invested €25 million (AU$39 million) to create a world-class cheese production centre in Poland.
“We are the only supplier for complete solutions from milk intake, cheese production, through to packaging. This provides us with a sophisticated toolkit that enables us to tailor solutions to be completely suited to the customers’ needs, and we are so confident in these new Best Practice Line solutions that they come with performance guarantees.”
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