2024 Trends to Follow
Butter Boards, TikTok feta, grilled cheese hacks and truffled everything! Goodbye 2023 cheese trends, hello 2024!
The good news is that there are a lot of indicators that signal a buoyant market for cheese and dairy products well into 2024 and beyond. Not only will fermented and gut-friendly foods, such as raw-milk cheese and Skyr-type yoghurt continue to feature in the health-conscious’ shopping baskets, but farm to fork eating supports this ethos, as consumers turn away from heavily processed foods.
Tarot cards, crystal balls and tea leaves are not our chosen form of divination. Instead, we have trawled the net for surveys, reports and blogs to come up with our own trend predictions for 2024. Whilst we cannot guarantee that any of the following trends will actually be million-hitting hashtag search terms, there are definite rumblings on the social scene, and who knows, spicy hot honey Caesar dressing ice-cream may well be going viral before we know it!
Continue reading to see our six cheese trend predictions for 2024:
Top Cheese Trend For Cheese makers
1. Cheese Tourism
With provenance now a well-recognised term, travellers are eager to explore a destination through its culinary history and culture. Whether that’s visiting a dairy farm and getting hands-on in the vat, seeking out authentic local dining experiences, or ducking through local maturing caves, it’s time to think of embracing the experience-side of your business. Think cellar-door tasting experiences and tours, on-site restaurants and B&Bs and out-of-hours kitchen suppers. In recognition of this growing demand for cheese enlightenment, we are thrilled to be working in collaboration with Cheese Journeys in 2024. Recently appearing in the New York Times, demand for their educational holidays in the UK and Europe is sure to go through the roof.
Top Cheese Trends For Chefs
2. Table-side Dining Experiences & the rise of the Fromelier
The “Let’s Play” trend will not only see the continued demand for fondue-style sharing experiences, but also the return of the Cheese Trolley. For a while, consumers have sought exciting, immersive food experiences whilst eating out and this experiential dining is here to stay. Across restaurants, diners want to be able to engage with the food they order, and this is where the cheese trolley wheels itself in nicely.
At the end of the 20th Century, the cheese trolley fell out of favour – with profitability and general consumer awareness being cited as the main causes. However, thanks to the provision of cheese education, as well as growing consumer demand for artisan cheese and table theatrics, the cheese trolley is making a comeback – offering a point of differentiation for savvy restaurateurs. There is nothing better than a beautiful display of artisanal cheeses to tempt your guests. And if a Fromelier is at hand with expert knowledge of a cheese’s flavour profile, provenance and pairing recommendations, then opportunities aplenty for increasing spend per head.
For inspiration, check out six of the world’s best cheese trolleys on WPBStars’ video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=714sjamih0w . Closer to home, The Waterside Inn at Bray specialises in unpasteurised cheeses, whilst Marylebone restaurant, Orrery, has triumphed with its huge trolley of 30 award-winning farmhouse cheeses and very own fromelier, whilst Saddle Restaurant in Madrid (where Young Cheesemonger of the Year finalist Álvaro Ocana Fernandez works) rotates over 350 different varieties of cheese each year, on their impressive cheese trolley.
Ingredients to Watch
3. All Hail The Caesar Salad
Food and beverage data collector, Datassentials, is predicting the Caesar salad to be a social media sensation in 2024, leading to innumerable variations of this firm family favourite. If this trend goes viral, expect to see sales of Parmigiano Reggiano skyrocket. For an alternative to the traditional Parmesan, retailers could offer cheeses with similar flavour profiles, such as a Pecorino, Grana Padano, Old Winchester from Lyburn Cheese, or even Corra Linn from Errington Cheese.
4. Hot Honey…
Unusual pairings fused with the trend of complex-spice flavour boosters allows cheese lovers to get adventurous with a dip or a drizzle. Wilderbee, the UK’s original Hot Honey was created by food truck chef Dan Shearman, who reveals that their Great Taste award winning Hot Honey was born, quite literally, for cheese, having first created it for a dish using a Rosary Goats Cheese – you can find that recipe here. Dan says “It’s taken a while for the UK to catch up with the Hot Honey trend, but the last few years have seen the fans of our sweet heat grow exponentially, landing us listings with some amazing national retailers and seeing our product on restaurant menus up and down the country”.
… And a Healthy Gut
Coupled with the continued growth of pickled and fermented foods, as well as non-alchoholic beverages, expect to see spicy kimchi, chilli-stuffed olives and hot pickles appearing on influencer cheese boards, whilst fiery ginger kombuchas will be a go-to pairing option.
Top Cheese Trend For Cheese Mongers
5. Next-Level Convenience
Mintel 2024 Global Food Trends suggest that personalization, ease, and efficiency will only get more common as options. Convenience has always been an evolving concept, but busy people are always looking for shortcuts, advice and products that help them optimize their time planning, shopping and meal preparation. With that in mind, retailers should be prepared to offer ready-to-go, all-inclusive cheeseboards, with accompaniments and drinks pairings to be included in the offering. Merchandising strategies should factor this in and online stores allow push notifications for add-on bundles.
6. Regenerative Farming Pushes Forward
The health of the planet remains the number one global concern, with a strong focus on regenerative farming, sustainable practices and locally sourced ingredients. The good news is that, according to Mintel Food & Drink Director, David Faulkner, when it comes to understanding environmental issues, consumers trust farmers. He recommends sharing details on expertise related to animal grazing and soil health.
One of the most prominent trends in dairy farming and cheesemaking will be the use of regenerative agriculture practices. This approach emphasizes the importance of soil health and encourages the use of techniques that build soil organic matter. For cheesemakers and dairy farmers, the focus is particularly on grazing: acknowledging the role that livestock play in sequestering carbon in the soil. Additional practices should include: increased water percolation, water retention, and clean and safe water runoff as well as an increase in biodiversity and ecosystem health and resiliency. Many modern cheesemakers are already adopting sustainable and regenerative practices, including Quickes Cheese and Isle of Mull Cheese.
For cheese mongers, ensuring the cheeses in your counter come from sustainable sources will be more important than ever before. Knowing your suppliers and understanding their values is an essential part for this.
Rachel Holding | Academy of Cheese Writer
Rachel loves a good cheese and wine session. Her love of all cheeses, artisanal or otherwise, has grown from her early years of working on the cheese counter at Fortnum & Mason. She has a personal mission to taste as many cheeses as possible and to encourage this passion in others.