In a world where TikTok can turn even the most humble of ingredients like cottage cheese into “it girls”, predicting the next wave of cheese trends can feel as capricious as a viral internet sensation. While we may not know what the next TikTok feta pasta will be—or if it will be around longer than the butter board—the cheese-obsessed experts at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) have consulted their cheesy crystal ball to predict the five big cheese trends of 2024.
Rachel Kerr, Senior Director of Experiential and Brand Marketing for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, emphasized the unpredictable nature of future food trends, particularly in the realm of social media platforms like TikTok. “We don’t know what the food item is going to be, but there are things that are going to continue to go viral…there’s going to be something cheese-related. I can predict that.”
“We don’t know where it’s going to come from, but it’s our job to help make the most of it,” said Kerr. “So if everyone is jumping on the parmesan martini wagon, we figure out how to involve our cheeses in that.”
The DFW research and insights team combed through surveys, trends, and stats to come up with five big trend predictions for 2024. Expect to see inspiration from global flavors, an emphasis on comfort and nostalgia, and a continued interest in environmental sustainability in the new year.
Continue reading to see all five trend predictions:
1. Cultivating Connection
In 2024 we can expect to see a continued emphasis on creating community and fostering bonds with family and friends. According to the DFW report, 92 percent of respondents expressed a preference for experiences over material presents, highlighting the enduring appeal of food-related experiences as a top priority.
2. Five-star home-cooked meals
Since the pandemic, there has been a sustained shift to home cooking, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. Consumers are purchasing small luxuries—like artisan cheese—to make their dining experience at home feel special.
3. Mindful Indulgence
You’ve probably noticed an increase in people pushing mindfulness and self-care, but who says that’s limited to meditations and facials? According to the DFW report, one in two consumers prefer to treat themselves with everyday moments of experience-based happiness, like eating things that bring them joy and elicit feelings of nostalgia and comfort.
4. Environmental Sustainability
Changing climate continues to be a top concern, driving shoppers toward locally and sustainably produced products. While dairy production is often cited as a major emitter of greenhouse gasses, there are many dairy farmers and cheesemakers using technology and regenerative land management practices to sequester carbon and minimize emissions. In Wisconsin, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese is one producer prioritizing sustainability with the help of its anaerobic digestion system that turns manure waste into electricity which generates enough energy to power the farm.
5. Flavor Frenzy
Flavors will continue to dominate the cheese aisle. According to DFW, consumers have a blooming interest in international flavors and unexpected blends, with 22 percent of consumers saying they would like to see more flavors from other regions in their food. One Wisconsin producer using global flavors in innovative ways is White Jasmine, a cheese and spice shop in Madison run by a mother-and-son duo that creates unique flavor blends like Tandoori Gouda and Sajji BBQ Gouda.