The research from Kerry surveyed 8,790 consumers across 16 countries in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa to learn more about their snacking behaviours as they relate to cheese flavoured savoury snacks, while also studying new product launch activity.
The news comes as Kerry Group announced that it has reached agreement to acquire the business to business powdered cheese business and related assets of The Kraft Heinz Company for $107.5m.
Its research found that consumers had a "deeply positive" perception of cheese flavours in savoury snacks, with 62% stating that cheese flavours make savoury snacks more exciting. Cheese-flavoured snacks also outpaced the overall savoury snack category in new product launches, demonstrating further potential for innovation, the research said.
While 77% of consumers globally said taste is the number one reason they love cheese, preferences varied across different markets and geographies.
Indulgence was a big driver in Europe, while consumers in the UK, South Africa and the US turned to cheese for comfort. In Latin American countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras, consumers associated cheese with freshness.
Cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan were popular among respondents in North America and Europe, while dairy flavours such as milk and cream played a central role in savoury snack flavours in Asian countries – particularly in China, Indonesia and Thailand. Kerry's proprietary sensory research also showcased how taste.
Soumya Nair, global consumer research and insights director, said: “Our research indicates that there is an opportunity to innovate in this space and bring new flavours to life across a variety of savoury snacks. But cheese flavoured snacks also bring indulgence and a sense of adventures to consumers. Snack producers can be very creative in blending the traditional with the new.”
The news comes as Kerry recently published research that revealed that beverages associated with health benefits, sustainability and better nutrition were soaring in popularity among foodservice consumers.
It showed that consumers were seeking flavours that they linked with health and nutrition benefits such as strawberry, lemon and mango, but were also seeking excitement and a sensory experience through newer formats like Frappuccino and bubble tea.