About 10 years ago I decided to try and give up cheese. With my intake off the charts, this was my attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle. Well folks, I am here to say that I lasted an entire 5 days.
It was the worst 5 days of my life.
My obsession does not stand alone because 83% of consumers love or like cheese (Datassential). Vegan options continue to pillage North America. In addition, flavored cheeses are emerging as a more exciting and innovative way to keep consumers captivated in the category. From beer-infused to jalapeno cheddar, curds, and smoked gouda, your taste buds are in for a wildly cheesy ride.
Trailblazing the Cheese Path
FlavorFinders showcases four segments that show consumers different flavor personalities – Hesitators, Followers, Investigators, and Trailblazers. As a fellow Trailblazer, there is SO much to like and appreciate about cheese. The vast flavor varietals are just the beginning. It is an excellent source of protein and calcium, appropriate to be eaten by itself, melted down to a dip, makes countless MORE foods, and is an excellent pair to my other lover – wine. Let’s take a look at each FlavorFinders segment to see what types and flavors best fit that consumer.
This group knows what they like and are less comfortable taking a risk on a food they may dislike. However, they are not wholly unwilling to try new flavors, foods, or restaurants - they just require more time and convincing to experiment outside their comfort zone.
Varieties like parmesan, cheddar, provolone, monterey jack, blue and gouda are all attractive to a Hesitator. They are classic, widely used on menu’s, and a safe choice for bringing dishes to life. Cracker Barrels new Three Cheese Blend including Wisconsin extra sharp yellow cheddar, Vermont sharp white cheddar and California smoked provolone fits the bill perfectly.
Though Flavor Followers fall in the middle of the adoption curve, they hold a key position. Their modus operandi is one of moderation - they are willing to experiment but only so far and typically define "trying something new" as trying a variation on a classic or following a hot trend.
A spread of asiago, fresh mozzarella, beer cheese, white cheddar, gorgonzola, and romano will satisfy a Follower just fine. They all fall in the top trending group of top trending but are not too “out there”. Aldi’s Cracker Cuts extra sharp white cheddar cheese will give them something slightly outside of the typical options that you can find just about anywhere.
This group is also one of the earliest adopters of new foods and willing to take risks on bold new flavors. However, they have high standards for their food and beverages and gravitate towards claims like antibiotic-free, locally sourced, and sustainable.
An Investigator will gravitate towards farmers cheese, vegan options, queso fresco, havarti, and cotija. The list is a blend of bold, fresh, and health conscience. Le Grand Plant Philosophy Toasted Sesame Dairy Free Cheese Spread is an organic and cultured dairy-free alternative, an example that an Investigator can trust immediately.
At the forefront of the flavor-adoption continuum are the Flavor Trailblazers. They are influencers and leaders in their peer group and critical in the adoption spectrum. Posts on their social media page can influences others to try the same product, restaurant, or dish.
Halloumi, raclette, ricotta salata, kasseri, panir, and robiola are on the exotic spectrum of the cheese grid and sure to please any Trailblazer. Mt. Vikos launched a Kasseri Mountain Cheese that is a hand crafted, all natural melting cheese from Thessaly Greece, made from sheep’s and goat’s milk.
An easy way to meet all of your cheese needs is to prepare a cheeseboard. Sound intimidating? Luckily assortment kits have made this entertainment based delicacy a stress free event. They look impressive and also provide the addition of flavor and pairing notes. According to Mintel, unique flavors are a strong motivator with 44% of US cheese consumers agreeing that unique flavors would motivate them to trial a new flavor or type.
So what are you waiting for? No matter your Flavorfinder profile, cheese is bound to make your heart happy.