UK consumers would rather give up chocolate than cheese, Mintel finds

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Three in 10 (29%) UK consumers say they would like to see a wider range of cheese from different British regions. ©GettyImages/Tay Jnr
Three in 10 (29%) UK consumers say they would like to see a wider range of cheese from different British regions. ©GettyImages/Tay Jnr

Related tags Cheese Mintel Uk

Half of British consumers would rather give up chocolate than cheese when asked if they had to “choose between never being able to eat cheese again or never being able to eat chocolate again,” according to new research by Mintel.

Less than half (47%) of respondents said they would rather give up cheese than chocolate and 3% of respondents said that they do not like either.

“When it comes to the battle between cheese and chocolate, two great British indulgences, cheese more than holds its own,”​ Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said.

“It is a menu staple in the vast majority of UK homes. Recipes and ideas for using cheese with meals offer significant scope for driving increased usage and cementing British consumers’ love of cheese.”

According to Mintel, nine in 10 UK consumers bought cheese in the last three months with 72% buying cheddar, 37% regional purchasing regional British cheese such as Red Leicester and Double Gloucester, and 36% buying cream and soft cheese varieties.

Total volume purchases by UK consumers are estimated to reach 356m kg of cheese by the end of 2017.

Regional, refined tastes

Mintel’s results varied by region as consumers living in Scotland (56%), West Midlands (52%), and the South East and East Anglia (52%) were more likely to say they would give up chocolate compared to the South West and Wales, London, the North East, and North West.  One in four UK consumers were confident in their knowledge of cheese and said they consider themselves a “cheese connoisseur.”  ​That number jumped to 39% of London residents who consider themselves cheese connoisseurs.

Nearly half (47%) of Londoners bought continental cheese in the past three months compared to the UK average of 37%. Those living in London were also more likely to buy goat and sheep’s milk than the national average. However, Cheddar was found to be purchased less frequently by Londoners at 60% compared to the UK average of 72%.

“The fact that a higher proportion of those living in London buy continental and goat or sheep’s cheese reflects both the diversity of the city’s population and the usage of such cheeses for meals influenced by foreign cuisine,”​ Caines added.

“Significant scope exists for cheese brands to offer ideas on using cheese in less traditionally British recipes. Sales of cheeses such as feta and halloumi have been growing, but further growth could come from taking more ideas from the cheese culture in other countries.”

In addition, 42% of consumers said they would pay more for cheese made by smaller or independent cheesemakers and three in five would like to a broader range of cheese from British regions highlighting a growing premiumization of the category.

Related topics Market trends Confectionery Dairy

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