Exploring the momentum of cheese snacking trends and innovations
Cheese innovation continues to skyrocket, particularly since consumers are seeking cheese snacks with more health and nutritional benefits such as high protein and calcium content without sacrificing taste. (3) Recently, cheese-makers are looking at new approach — precision fermentation — for producing dairy protein. This process has placed dairy proteins in an advantageous position when compared with the plant protein market where taste remains a challenging factor. (6) Yet, precision fermentation-derived dairy protein can substitute traditional cheese, providing a viable option for individuals with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance.
The trends in the cheese industry post-pandemic are geared towards enhancing nutrition, taste, fortification, sustainability, and gut health. Specifically, there is a growing demand for low-fat, high-protein, mineral, and fiber-enriched, additive-free, and sustainably produced cheese. To cater to health-conscious consumers who prefer healthy snacking options, cheese snacks provide a natural source of high protein and low-fat milk with added health benefits. One new segment of the cheese snack market is solid shelf-stable cheese snacks (SSSCs). These snacks are exclusively made out of natural cheese that has been dehydrated, which makes them nutritious, satiating, and portable with an appealing texture. For added appeal, SSSCs are offered in different sizes, shapes, formats, and flavors. (7) However, there is a need for further research to improve nutrition and gut health, reduce sodium content and promote sustainable production practices. Innovations in new packaging materials also deserve exploring.