Is the culture right for cottage cheese?
A couple weeks ago, an article in the New York Times noted that cottage cheese is poised to become the next Greek yogurt. The humble childhood snack (unless you’re a Bon Appetit editor), is taking some cues from its wildly popular dairy case neighbor and refashioning itself as a small batch item, dressing things up with sweet and savory flavors and cleaning up its quality by going all-natural.
Packed in a single-serve container (perhaps another idea borrowed from the yogurt category), the wave of nouveau cottage cheese is angling for the active consumer—a smart strategy as today’s grab-and-go buyers bypass the center store in their hunt healthier options. And cottage cheese offers an impressive nutrition label. It’s protein-rich, which means that consumers won’t have to reach for another snack an hour later—an important selling point to those health-minded buyers.
While it’s true that not everyone is reaching for the chia seeds and firing up the grill for plant-based burgers, there are significantly sized cohorts that are trying to manage their health though better dietary choices. We know, because we’ve been tracking a spectrum of consumer behavior around conscious consumption (in partnership with Mintel) since 2013.
In fact, across all of the five segments that we track, the most common approach to improving personal health was to make diet changes. The spectrum sweeps from having a health-controlling attitude to a health-disinterested attitude, and the nuances in mindsets and commitment levels congregate accordingly. Not surprising, our most recent study found that many have trouble sticking to these changes a year out. Most cite a lack of willpower (more so than a lack of interest, money or support) as the hardest hindrance to prolonging their dietary improvements.
The fresh face of cottage cheese could help the category attract those who are making conscious efforts to shape up their eating habits. Willpower is supported when brands make their product the easy choice. And by changing up some of the key elements of cottage cheese, producers are putting it in the position to be a natural pick.