Lactalis UK & Ireland is urging retailers to maximise the potential of the cheese category in the run up to Christmas. The leading dairy company recommends stocking up on a variety of cheeses including hard and soft speciality, premium, hot eating and blue cheese, as well as selection packs, as they see the highest sales uplift during December.

Héloïse Le Norcy-Trott, Group Marketing Director for Lactalis UK & Ireland, explains:

“Over the last three years, 72% of December cheese volume sales resulted from a cheese type that sees higher than average sales during this month. This is why we recommend retailers stock up on premium, hot eating, blue, selection packs, as well as hard and soft specialty cheeses in the run up to Christmas. With so many of these cheeses benefitting from increased sales in December, it is important to meet consumer demand.

“To further capitalise on potential sales, we recommend introducing those popular cheese types even earlier in the year, as seasonal cheeses see a +34.8% volume sales increase during the months of October and November[i]. During this time of the year, shoppers are open to spending more money on premium cheese, with the average price per kg in cheese going from £6.47/kg during an average month to £7.07/kg during Christmas. In continental cheeses, the price moves from £7.61/kg to £8.26/kg. With this increase, the average cheese shopper will spend £12.86 during December vs £9.58 during an average month[ii].”

Cheese types that see highest sales uplifts during December include[iii]:

  • Hot Eating cheeses: Baking Brie +862%, Breaded Baking Cheese +675% and Baking Camembert +300%
  • Blue Cheeses: Gorgonzola +210%, Danish Blue +150%, Blue Stilton +149% and Dolcelatte +47%
  • Hard Speciality: Wensleydale +126%, Extra Mature Cheddar +122%, Emmental +100% and Flavoured Territorials +51%
  • Selection Packs: +72%
  • Soft Speciality: Buffalo Mozzarella +52%, Goat’s Cheese +19% and Brie +10%

Cheeses with the biggest volume share growth during Decemberiii:

  • Selection Packs +0.5pp
  • Extra Mature Cheddar +0.4pp
  • Mature Cheddar +0.5pp
  • Flavoured Territorials +0.5pp
  • Blue Stilton +0.2pp
  • Brie +0.2pp

“Our portfolio of premium cheeses from Président is a must-stock for retailers. The range includes Président Brie (the number one selling branded brie*), Président Camembert (the number two selling camembert*) and Président Emmental (the number one selling branded Emmental SKU*)ii. Président A La Carte Crispy Bake With Brie and Seriously Nuggets are also best-sellers, and represent the fastest growing and top contributing brands to absolute value and volume growth in hot eating cheese[iv].

“As we look ahead to the festive season, as a result of Christmas 2020 being cancelled, we expect the traditional sales peak for our premium and baking cheese products to be greater than ever.”

*during the months of October to December

[i] vs the rest of the year excluding Christmas

[ii] IRI, Total Market, 12w/e 2 January 2021, ACV Weighted ROS

[iii] Kantar, Total Market, 52w/e 8 August 2021 and 4w/e 27 December 2020

[iv] 52w/e 17th of July 2021

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