Block cheese is the most popular, with 55.1 per cent of grocery buyers purchasing it in an average month. This is followed by sliced (35.8%) and grated/shredded cheese (33.1%). Soft cheese (18.4%), creamed cheese/cheese spread (10.5%), cottage/ricotta cheese (9.9%) and cheese snacks/portions (5.7%) also have their devotees, but their appeal is markedly more niche.
“Cheese buyers are a diverse bunch, and in today’s gradually shrinking market, brands need to ensure that they are marketing their various products to the right target audience,” said Norman Morris, industry communications director of Roy Morgan Research. “For example, a quick glimpse at the table [below] confirms that a grocery buyer who purchases soft cheese is focused on entirely different aspects of the culinary experience than someone who buys shredded cheese.”
Even block cheese, purchased by more than half of all grocery buyers, stands out in its own way. For example, New Zealand- and British-born Aussies are both 23% more likely than the population average to buy block cheese in an average four weeks. (In contrast, Asian-born Australians are a whopping 72% less likely to buy it.)
“The ethnic background of cheese buyers is interesting. Obviously a higher number of Australian-born Aussies buy cheese than any other group, but higher proportions of people from non-Australian backgrounds buy it: with Kiwis, British- and European-born Aussies and North Americans all distinguishing themselves for different cheeses. Without exception, people of Asian descent are well below average for buying cheese,” said Morris.
The popularity of block cheese also peaks among the Roy Morgan Food Segment known as ‘Trendsetters’. For these gourmet-loving foodies, it’s all about new flavours and recipes: no doubt they would put block cheese to good use in their culinary pursuits.
On the other hand, sliced cheese is especially popular with folks known as ‘Zappits’. As their name suggests, Zappits are not big on cooking (or any food preparation, really), so the absolute ease and convenience of cheese slices would suit them fine. Almost as likely to buy sliced cheese as Zappits are Aussies aged 35 to 49 years old — many of them time-poor parents looking for quick, healthy snacks for their kids.
Different kinds of cheese buyers: how they differ
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416. Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+ (except BMI, which is grocery buyers 18+)