The global cheese market, valued at $92 billion in 2022, is expected to grow to $132 billion by 2032, with an annual growth rate of 3.7%. Despite the pandemic, Spain's cheese market experienced growth during 2020 and 2021, driven by increased at-home consumption as restaurants and bars closed. The United States is the leading consumer of cheese worldwide, but Western Europe is the largest market by sales figures. Spain stands out for its high consumption of fresh cheese, with over 102 million kilos consumed in 2020, followed by semi-cooked and processed cheese.

The domestic cheese market in Spain was valued at 2.8 billion euros in 2021, with per capita consumption reaching 7.84 kilos. Spain's cheese trade indicates a higher reliance on imports, with a coverage rate of 42.2% in 2022, and their main import origins are the Netherlands, Germany, and France. The country's most revered cheese, Manchego, had a record 17.2 million kg produced in 2021, with a significant portion being exported, particularly to the United States. Trends also show a rise in organic cheeses, lactose-free options, and plant-based alternatives reflecting changing dietary preferences among Spaniards.

Evolving Trends in Spain's Cheese Consumption Landscape

Spain, known for its diverse culinary traditions, has seen a remarkable shift in its cheese consumption trends. While traditionally not as central in Spanish cuisine compared to other countries, the cheese market in Spain has undergone a significant transformation, particularly in light of recent global events. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic catalyzed an upsurge in domestic cheese consumption as Spaniards turned to home cooking while eateries remained closed. Interestingly, the year following the return to normalcy, 2021, marked a dramatic decrease in at-home cheese indulgence. This oscillation underscores the direct impact of lifestyle changes on cheese buying behaviors. Despite this, there was an observed increase, suggesting a lingering inclination towards cheese by Spanish households. Spaniards have demonstrated a penchant for certain cheese types, with fresh cheese leading the pack, comprising nearly 30% of consumed cheeses. Consumption patterns also indicated a seasonal proclivity, particularly during the festive period, with a marked spike in cheese interest and sales in December.

The Spanish cheese market displays a dynamic structure, with a spectrum of cheeses – from internationally renowned Manchego to a gamut of Protected Designation of Origin varieties. These varied cheeses reflect Spain's regional diversity and the intricate tapestry of its cheese-making traditions. In terms of production volumes, buoyed by both domestic demand and a robust export market. Manchego's eminence extends beyond national borders, with export figures reaching upwards of 70% of its total production. Other cheese types, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, have also enjoyed burgeoning popularity, with Spain posting the highest uptick in consumption rates within Europe. One cannot overlook the gradual but perceptible shift towards accommodating varying dietary preferences, such as lactose intolerance and plant-based diets.

The manufacturing landscape is adapting to incorporate cheeses with reduced lactose content as regional consumption modulates according to lactose tolerance levels. Parallel to this, the plant-based cheese alternative market has flourished, finding a place in numerous Spanish households driven by health, environmental, and ethical considerations. The regulatory framework plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the integrity of Spain's cheese varieties.

Diverse Competitors Shaping the Cheese Industry Landscape

The cheese market is not only diverse in its product offering but also in the companies that operate within the industry. These players vary widely in size, market presence, and specializations, serving to meet the eclectic demands of consumers both domestically and internationally.

  • Nestlé is a household name that requires little introduction. It stands as one of the giants in the food and beverage industry, with a strong international presence that includes a vast array of cheese products in its portfolio. Nestlé's influence extends far beyond cheese, but its presence in this sector contributes to its formidable market share.
  • Lactalis Group, another behemoth in the dairy sector, roots itself deeply within cheese production. Its expansive reach and dedication to cheese and dairy make it a key player in driving trends and market dynamics on a global scale.
  • Savencia Fromages & Dairy is recognized for its innovative approach to cheese and dairy products. With a focus that extends into high-quality cheese offerings, Savencia is a significant influencer in both established and emerging cheese trends.
  • Mondelez Spain might be better known for iconic snack brands, but its investment in cheese products underlines its versatile approach to meeting consumer needs in various food categories.
  • Arla Foods Spain, part of the multinational cooperative Arla Foods, offers a range of cheese products that tap into the growing demand for wholesome, natural dairy items. Their commitment to organic and sustainable practices resonates with contemporary consumer values.
  • Among national champions, Grupo Garcia Baquero takes a prominent position, offering a variety of traditional and beloved cheese types that cater to local tastes and preferences. Their dominance in the Spanish market speaks to their ability to align with regional culinary preferences.
  • Queserias Entrepinare stands as another prominent name with a strong focus on cheese production. Their growth and sizable market share are testaments to their product quality and market understanding.
  • Grupo TGT showcases a comprehensive portfolio of cheese products, solidifying their status in the market and demonstrating their competency in meeting the diverse demands of cheese aficionados.
  • Lafuente is notable for its artisanal approach to cheese-making, providing consumers with high-quality, premium products that emphasize traditional methods and superior taste profiles.
  • Mantequerias Arias represents a legacy in the Spanish cheese market, with their brand resonating with heritage and a commitment to maintaining the highest standards in cheese production.
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  • Number of pages : 30 pages
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  • Last update : 09/06/2023
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Cheese is a milk-based culinary preparation widely consumed throughout the world. Cheese can be added to a variety of dishes, as a starter or main course, or eaten on its own before dessert. There are countless varieties of cheese, depending on the type of milk used, the fermentation method, the type of cheese (soft or hard, etc.) and the country of origin.

Worldwide, the leading customer market for cheese consumption is the United States. They are followed by France, Germany, Russia, Brazil and Italy. However, a comparison of sales figures shows that Western Europe is the world's leading market. Growth is also on the cards in most European Union countries, where cheese consumption is up slightly.

In Spain, fresh cheese consumption stands out in particular, with over 102 million kilos consumed in the country in 2020. Semi-cooked cheese comes second with 92.13 million kilos, followed by processed cheese (43.27). Far from having suffered from the health crisis in 2020 and 2021, cheese sales in the Iberian Peninsula grew over the period thanks to the maintenance of the main cheese distribution channels: supermarkets, hard-discounts and hypermarkets.

1.2 The global cheese market

The global cheese market has been valued at US$** billion in ****, and is expected to reach around US$*** billion by ****, at an annual growth rate of *.*%. Innovations in the sector, often driven by major groups such as Lactalis, Savencia and Nestlé, are driving market growth.

World cheese market value World, ****-****, ...

1.3 The domestic market

Cheese represents **.*% of the total volume of dairy products, and **.*% of the value of this market. In ****, the cheese market was valued at *.* billion euros. Most cheese purchases are made at the end of the year, during the festive season.

Monthly cheese market in Spain Spain, ****, in millions of euros Source: ...

1.4 Foreign trade in cheese

Foreign trade in cheese is on an upward trend, despite a slight downturn in **** due to the pandemic. Information on international trade in cheese can be found under UN Comtrade code ****: Cheese and curd .

International trade in cheese and curd Spain, **** - ****, in millions of euros and in % Source: ****

The chart ...

1.5 The impact of the health crisis on the cheese market

The Covid-** crisis had a positive impact on cheese consumption in Spain. As restaurants and bars closed their doors, Spaniards turned to home cooking. As a result, more and more Spaniards consumed cheese, either as an accompaniment to meals or in their own kitchens.

The return to normal in **** saw a ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Trends in cheese consumption in Spain

On average, Spanish households spend *.**% of their food and beverage budget on cheese, implying an approximate per capita expenditure of **.** euros per person per year. While total cheese consumption in the country is generally in the region of *** million kg per year, as mentioned above, consumption is set to rise considerably ...

2.2 Typology of cheeses consumed by Spaniards

Fresh cheeses take center stage

Nearly a third of the cheeses consumed by Spaniards are fresh cheeses (***).

Breakdown of cheeses by consumption Spain, ****, in Source: ****

2.3 Cheese consumers

It's difficult to establish a typical cheese consumer profile in Spain. Nevertheless, it would appear that households with children (***), where the person responsible for purchases is aged between ** and **, are the biggest consumers.

Cheese purchases and consumption increase almost linearly with age, with people under ** consuming an average of *.* kg of ...

2.4 The popularity of certain cheeses is growing

The reign of Manchego

La Mancha is home to the largest number of cheese factories in the world. More than *** farms in the region breed and raise Manchego ewes, while ** companies produce Manchego cheese from this milk. Production is rising to meet demand, and **** saw a record **.* million kg produced.

While ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Cheese value chain

The cheese-making process can be summarized as follows:

Once matured, the cheese is packaged, transported and distributed to the consumer. Some cheese is sold to the catering trade, some to supermarkets and traditional distribution channels, and a small proportion is supplied directly to consumers by producers. The production stages vary between ...

3.2 Production

Cheese production depends on milk production, part of which forms the basis for the manufacture of this foodstuff. Milk production is divided into * main sectors: cattle, sheep and goats.

In Spain, cow's milk production is concentrated in the south of the country, with Andalusia accounting for *** thousand tonnes of cow's milk ...

3.3 Distribution channels

Supermarkets and self-service outlets are the preferred distribution channel for cheese purchases. They account for over half of all cheese sold by volume. They are followed by discount stores (***).

Breakdown of sales volumes by distribution channel Spain, ****, in Source: ****

While cheese dairies occupy a small share of cheese distribution in terms ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 The different cheeses found in Spain

There is a huge variety of cheeses in Spain (***) in Spain. The PDOs include * cow's milk cheeses, * goat's milk cheeses, * ewe's milk cheeses and * mixed milk cheeses.

Source: ****

4.2 Average applied prices

Average prices in the cheese sector are directly linked to production prices for dairy products. The latter have been rising steadily since ****, with a peak in ****, due to the energy crisis and shortage of resources.

Monthly variations in producer prices for dairy products Spain, **** - ****, in Source: ****

In ****, the average price ...

4.3 Supply trends: organic, lactose-free and plant-based alternatives

The rise of organic cheeses in national consumption

In ****, around **,*** tonnes of raw organic milk were produced (***).

Ready-made cheese and lactose-free cheese

Genetic studies have shown that Europe is divided in two when it comes to the prevalence of lactose intolerance. Since prehistoric times, populations in the north of the continent ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Cheese appellation regulations

Protected Designation of Origin (***):

Agri-food PDOs are protected at European level by:

Parliament Regulation (***) No. ****/**** of November **, **** on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Commission Implementing Regulation (***) No ****/**** of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.

Protected Geographical Indication (***):

Agri-food PGIs are ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Nestlé Groupe
  • Lactalis Groupe
  • Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe
  • Mondelez
  • Arla Foods

List of charts

  • World cheese market value
  • Cheese consumption by type
  • Spain's monthly cheese market
  • International trade in cheese and curd
  • Main cheese export destinations
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Latest news

Nestlé sells its Natur baby food products to FNB - 06/02/2024
  • nestlé is the world's leading food company.
  • FNB is a French investment fund specialized in SMEs in the food sector.
  • Nestlé is in exclusive negotiations with FNB for the sale of its baby food business in France.
  • The products concerned are NaturNes baby foods, Babicao and Babivanille baby powders and the P'tit yogurt range.
  • These products are manufactured at the Arches plant.
  • Worldwide sales of Nestlé infant formulas have increased by more than 10%.
Suppliers refuse to accept Lactalis' proposed milk price increase - 05/02/2024
  • - The price revised in January by Lactalis is 405 euros per 1000 liters, increased to 420 euros per 1000 liters in 38/32 for February.
  • - Taking all premiums into account, the remuneration paid to producers was 460 euros per 1000 liters for the first two months of the year.
  • - Unell, which represents over 4,000 dairy farms, delivers over 2 billion liters of milk to Lactalis.
Nestlé France sells its baby food products to Mousline - 02/02/2024
  • Nestlé is negotiating exclusively with the French investment fund FnB the sale of its baby food business.
  • These include the ranges of soups, purees, desserts and breakfast powders under the NaturNes, Babicao and Babivanille brands, as well as the P'tit franchise.
  • Infant milks, the bulk of the portfolio - with Laboratoires Guigoz and Nestlé Nidal - remain in the Nestlé France fold.
  • The infant nutrition products that are the subject of this sale are produced in a factory in the Vosges region of France that employs 230 people.
  • FnB, the potential buyer, specializes in supporting French SMEs in the food industry.
  • The baby food market fell by 6% in volume last year in France due to the falling birth rate, with a sharper decline in milks than in diversification foods.
  • Nestlé has 14 factories in France.
Président, the billionaire brand that shaped the destiny of Lactalis - 13/11/2023
  • President brand sales: 3 billion euros
  • Brand age: 55 years
  • Increase in Camembert production in ten years: from 60,000 to 250,000 units
  • Current Camembert production: 500,000 units
  • Main production site: Domfront plant in the Orne region of France
  • Camembert price: less than 2 euros
  • Percentage of brand volume sold under private label: one-third in France and worldwide
  • Number of plants producing Président products outside France: over thirty.
Lactalis: portrait of Emmanuel Besnier, one of France's most secretive bosses - 15/10/2023
  • Sales 2022: 28.3 billion euros, Net income: 384 million euros
  • Number of employees: 85,000 worldwide
  • Number of dairies and cheese factories: 272 in 51 countries, including 66 in France
  • Quantity of milk collected: 22.6 billion liters worldwide
  • Breakdown of sales by product: cheese (40%), milk (19%), ultra-fresh (14%), butter and cream (12%), ingredients and nutrition (9%), other (6%)
  • Major acquisitions
    • Bridel in 1990,
    • nestlé's Roquefort cellars in 1992,
    • Galbani in 2006,
    • Parmalat in 2011,Parmalat acquisition cost: 4.5 billion euros.
    • l'Etoile, Stonyfield and Siggi's cheese factories in 2018,
    • kraft-Heinz cheese business in 2020,
    • Ambrosi in 2023.
Lactalis' Brazilian takeover held up - 27/07/2023
  • Lactalis, the world leader in dairy products, has signed an agreement to acquire DPA, a major player in the Brazilian dairy sector, for 125 million euros
  • With this acquisition, Lactalis would increase its workforce in Brazil to 10,000 employees.
  • DPA was created in 2003 by Nestlé and New Zealand's Fonterra.
  • It currently employs 1,300 people.
  • DPA has two factories in southern Brazil. Lactalis already has a significant presence in Brazil, with 23 industrial sites in eight states.
  • Brazil is Lactalis' fifth largest market.
  • Lactalis already owns thirteen dairy brands in Brazil, including Parmalat, Batavo, Itambe and Pocos de Caldas.
  • DPA brands include Chambinho, Chamyto and Chandelle.
  • The Brazilian Council for Economic Defense (CADE) has issued restrictions on the acquisition of Parmalat

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Nestlé Groupe
Lactalis Groupe
Savencia Fromage & Dairy groupe
Arla Foods

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