Not only are Australians buying cheese less, our preferences are changing. With the proliferation of relatively cheap plain-brand cheese, we're tending to buy less of our old favourites and more of the supermarket variety.
Last year, 48% of Australians aged 14+ bought blocks of cheese in an average four-week period, down from 52% five years earlier. And not only are we buying cheese less, our preferences are changing, with supermarket-brand blocks overtaking some old favourites in the popularity stakes.
Findings by Roy Morgan Research show that supermarket-brand cheese blocks have increased their market share over the past five years, with 14% of Aussies buying it in 2012, up from 8% in the year to December 2008. The proliferation of supermarket brands (often at much lower prices than branded cheese), combined with a gradual reduction of shelf-space reserved for other brands, goes some way to explaining why previous market-leader Bega fell slightly from 14% five years ago to 13% in 2012.
Tastes by state
Queenslanders are particularly fond of supermarket-branded cheese blocks, with 20% buying them in an average four-week period. New South Wales residents, on the other hand, were still slightly more likely to purchase Bega (15%, as opposed to 14% for supermarket brands).
Western Australians’ preferences differ considerably from other states, with Mainland (12%) and Coon (10%) the two most popular cheese block brands bought. Supermarket brands rank fifth (7%) among WA’s cheese shoppers.
Source:Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January - December 2012, n = 21,539.
Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Over the last five years there has been a small decline in the amount of Australians purchasing blocks of cheese in any given four-week period. Meanwhile, the proportion of Aussies purchasing supermarket-branded cheese blocks has grown with their increasing availability and relatively low prices, and sales of big-name brands such as Bega, Mainland and Coon have declined.
“It’s interesting to note the clear variations in brand preference across the different regions of Australia. While Queensland residents have embraced supermarket brands, Western Australians remain loyal to the traditional cheese brands. Marketers of national brands need to stay abreast of changing dynamics within the category as well as regional preference trends.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.
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