New Kerry consumer research finds there are opportunities to innovate in cheese-flavoured snacks
By Food in Canada StaffFood Trends Ingredients & Additives cheese Kerry
Consumers across the world associate cheese flavours with indulgence, comfort and freshness, with significant variation in different regions, according to new research from Kerry. Understanding these emotions, in combination with local taste preferences, presents a significant opportunity for snack producers to innovate and meet consumers’ growing demand for new flavours and formats.
Kerry surveyed 8,790 consumers across 16 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa to learn more about their snacking behaviours as they relate to cheese-flavoured savoury snacks, while also studying new-product launch activity.
It was found consumers have a deeply positive perception of cheese flavours in savoury snacks, with 62 per cent stating that cheese flavours make savoury snacks more exciting — indicating strong potential for brands to connect with them emotionally. Cheese-flavoured snacks also outpaced the overall savoury snack category in new product launches, demonstrating potential for innovation.
Consumer preferences vary globally
While 77 per cent of consumers globally said taste is the number one reason they love cheese, preferences vary across different markets and geographies. Indulgence is a big driver in Europe, while consumers in the U.S., UK and South Africa turn to cheese for comfort. In Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras, consumers associate cheese with freshness.
Cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan are popular among respondents in North America and Europe, while dairy flavours, such as milk and cream, play a central role in savoury snack flavours in Asian countries, particularly China, Indonesia and Thailand. Kerry’s proprietary sensory research also showcased how taste perceptions vary vastly around the world, with panelists in Indonesia describing cheese-flavoured snacks as “buttery and mild,” compared to panelists in the UK who find them “strong and salty.”
The research also explored top flavours based on snack type, with cheddar reigning supreme around the world, and also the most appealing choice in potato chips, popcorn and cheese puffs.
Opportunity for innovation
Commenting on the research, Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director, said, “Cheese is a truly cultural experience, shaped by different geographies, generations of rich culinary history, local ingredients and traditions. Our research indicates that there is an opportunity to innovate in this space and bring new flavours to life across a variety of savoury snacks. But cheese-flavoured snacks also bring indulgence and a sense of adventure to consumers. Snack producers can be very creative in blending the traditional with the new. Although many consumers love classic, single-cheese flavours in savory snacks, there is plenty of scope for mixing things up. A significant percentage — 50 per cent — tell us that creative additions such as herbs, spices and chili are variants they look for.”
Full details of the research findings across 16 countries are contained in a new e-book aimed at helping food producers leverage these insights to create and market new products. The e-book can be downloaded here.
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