Comforting snacks: Consumer emotion is driving global cheese innovation, reveals Kerry
30 Aug 2022 --- Many consumers associate cheese flavors with indulgence, comfort and freshness with significant variation in different regions, according to new research from Kerry. As a result, the company has flagged the growing potential for brands to connect with consumers on an emotional level.
Understanding these emotions, in combination with local taste preferences, presents an opportunity for snack producers to innovate and meet growing consumer demand for new flavors and formats, the company reveals.
Kerry surveyed 8,790 consumers across 16 countries in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa to learn more about their snacking behaviors.
It delved into how consumers respond to cheese-flavored savory snacks while also studying new product launches.
“Deeply positive” perceptions
Kerry found that consumers have a deeply positive perception of cheese flavors in savory snacks, with 62% stating that cheese flavors make savory snacks more exciting.
Cheese-flavored snacks also outpaced the savory snack category in new product launches, demonstrating further potential for innovation.
While 77% of consumers globally said that taste is the number one reason they love cheese, preferences vary across different markets and geographies.
Indulgence is a significant driver in Europe, while consumers in the UK, South Africa and the US turn to cheese for comfort.
Consumers associate cheese with freshness in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras.
Cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan are popular among respondents in North America and Europe. At the same time, dairy flavors such as milk and cream play a central role in savory snack flavors in Asian countries – particularly in China, Indonesia and Thailand.
Kerry’s proprietary sensory research also showcased how taste perceptions vary around the world, with panelists in Indonesia describing cheese-flavored snacks as buttery and mild compared to panelists in the UK finding them strong and salty.
The research also explored top flavors based on snack type, with cheddar reigning supreme worldwide and cited as the most appealing cheese profile across potato chips, popcorn and cheese puff concepts.
Opportunity for innovation
Commenting on the research, Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director, says: “Cheese is a truly cultural experience, shaped by different geographies, generations of rich culinary history, local ingredients and traditions.”
The research indicates an opportunity to innovate in this space and bring new flavors to life across various savory snacks, she says.
“But cheese-flavored snacks also bring consumers indulgence and a sense of adventure. Snack producers can be very creative in blending the traditional with the new.”
Although many consumers love classic, single-cheese flavors in savory snacks, there is plenty of scope for mixing things up. A significant percentage – 50% – tell us that creative additions such as herbs, spices and chili are variants they look for,” explains Nair.
“We are a global player in dairy taste and bring a 50-year dairy heritage in food production and science to create global, local and regional-specific cheese taste and dairy solutions,” she continues.
“Our marketing, consumer, sensory and regulatory teams work alongside our flavorists and application experts to deliver our portfolio of market-leading dairy and dairy-free taste solutions,” Nair concludes.
Dairy and dairy-free NPD
Innovation across the plant-based field is moving at warp speed, with companies experimenting with new ingredients and striving to meet the pillars of consumer demand: nutrition, taste, flavor and texture.
With a growing base of flexitarian consumers, the food crisis and environmental sustainability demands are shaking up the market.
Authentic dairy continues to heat up, with recent innovations pegged as “game-changers” in reducing freight costs and adding flavor.
Meanwhile, consumers’ thirst for dairy – sustained even amid acute inflation levels – has been met with dwindling global stocks set to squeeze prices further in the sector.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.