DUBLIN 2, Ireland, 16-Oct-2018 — /EPR FOOD & BEVERAGE NEWS/ — Glancing through the dairy segment of retail aisles in Europe offers a clear comparison of preference for halloumi cheese than other cheese varieties. According to a Fact.MR study on halloumi cheese market, 76% of modern trade outlets and 92% of online grocery retailers had halloumi cheese in their offerings.
Not only has the consumer base expanded, but per capita consumption of Halloumi cheese has also witnessed an increase
Ease of availability is a key factor that has led to an increase in halloumi cheese sales worldwide, particularly in Europe. The Fact.MR study includes an analysis on the sentiments of retailers who did not have halloumi cheese in their product offerings – nearly 48% of the Eastern European retailers mentioned ‘increased customer enquiry’ about the availability of halloumi cheese over the past two years.
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Furthermore, not only has the consumer base increased, but the per capita consumption has also surged in Europe. Apart from Cyprus, which is a clear outlier in terms of per capita consumption of halloumi cheese, average consumption in Europe stands slightly less than a pound per year.
Halloumi Cheese Demand Growing on the Backdrop of Specialty Cheese Preference
Along with increased consumer base and per capita consumption of halloumi cheese in Europe, there’s an another dimension that plays a critical role. “It’s the variety of specialty and halloumi cheese which consumers are inclined towards. “Organic” has become another buzzword these days, which is mostly due to increased health consciousness and lifestyle changes among consumers, says Mr. Shambhu Nath Jha, Senior Consultant at Fact.MR. “The selection process of grocery products has widely changed among several consumer clusters, as they are moving away from lucrative offers toward products with added health benefits. Labels and certifications on cheese products were not as important to consumers earlier as they have become now,” adds Mr. Jha.
Digital Visibility Acting as a Catalyst for Halloumi Cheese Sales in Europe
One of the key reasons for increasing demand for halloumi cheese is its increasing presence on e-commerce shelves. This has had a significant impact on awareness about the product.
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“Specialty online channels are gaining popularity across Europe, owing to significant consumer demand for specialty products from Tier II and suburban areas. Online grocery retailers have broadened the access of their offerings to reach a wider demographic. The ease of access provided by online channels has led to the multi-dimensional growth, which has augured well for the prospects of halloumi cheese producers,” opines Mr. Jha.
Halloumi cheese has been growing at double-digit growth rate through online retail, and it is further expected to increase in the years to come. Developing countries, especially India and China, have gained significant traction in the online grocery sales and due to this, several cheese manufacturers and traders have partnered with specialty online stores.
Brands are Positioning Halloumi Cheese as a Healthy Alternative to Conventional Cheese
“The reason halloumi cheese sells like hot cakes across Europe is because it’s so moreish. However, a question even avid consumers ask is, “It tastes so good, but can it, in some way, be healthy? And, the answers are encouraging. Halloumi cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein, and moderate intake can be advantageous,” says Mr. Jha.
Halloumi cheese producers are leveraging these attributes of the product in marketing, and positioning it as a healthy alternative to conventional cheese. However, it’s worthwhile to note that halloumi cheese is high in saturated fats and salts, and too much of halloumi cheese consumption can aggravate certain health conditions. There are cheese variants that are healthier than halloumi – feta, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. However, halloumi is considered as a healthier option than goat cheese and cheddar cheese
Burgeoning Demand Exerting Pressure on Production Capacities
Halloumi cheese is native to Cyprus, however, the surge in its demand globally has encouraged the local dairy producers in other European and non-European countries to produce it domestically. As a result, foray of new players has been witnessed in the halloumi cheese market. The burgeoning demand for halloumi cheese in Europe, especially in the UK, has catalyzed efforts to implement a genomic scheme to boost production in Cyprus. “The way forward for greater halloumi production is industry-institution collaboration,” concludes Mr. Jha.
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