Cheese in Africa

Euromonitor International’s global cheese research in Africa focuses on four key markets: South Africa,
Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon.Food Processing Africa reviews the data and trends in these four countries.
South Africa
The latest trend report for South Africa says there is a growing prevalence of fixed weight packaging of hard cheeses in that country.
“Consumers can purchase cheese at a fixed price, making it easier and more convenient to budget for the
product, which is considered a luxury item by many.”
The retail value and volume growth of cheese in the country was higher in 2014 than other previous years.
According to the report, the overall category experienced price increases. To an extent, promotional pricing offers were used to counteract these increases. These promotions boosted the volume of sales.
Due to high maize prices and a weakening rand, the costs of animal feeds increased during 2014. Lacklustre market conditions also had a negative effect on farm productivity.
According to Euromonitor, inflationary costs will work through to raise consumer food inflation this year.
Parmalat SA launched Parmalat’s cheese strings on the South African market – unspreadable processed cheese which previously sold in slices. Other manufacturers are expected to copy this product.
“It is a convenient format, and children may enjoy the different format compared to the Melrose Wedge brand of processed cheese,” says the report.
Cream cheese accounted for a 68% value share of spreadable processed cheese sales last year. In the review period, retailers gave this type of cheese more shelf space, which resulted in a rise of this format. Leading brands include Simonsberg and Melrose (both Parmalat SA), Cream Cheese (Lancewood Holdings) and Philadelphia (Kraft Foods South Africa).
With the growth of cream cheese, Euromonitor notes that there has been a substantial increase in flavour variants, making it one of the most sophisticated categories in the broader cheese category.
Cheese headlines of 2014 – Nigeria
• Cheese current value growth of 7% was to reach NGN 0.6bn (US$3011298.0000).
• Increased usage of cheese in snacks and growth in sales was beneficial to the category.
• Only unspreadable processed cheese had been present in significant quantities.
• The average unit price of cheese increased moderately in 2014.
• The cheese market was fragmented, with no player taking the lead in sales.
• Over the forecast period cheese was expected to see a negligible positive value Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at constant 2014 prices.According to the report, even private label brands such as Pick n Pay offer varieties such as sweet chilli or smoked salmon in addition to the more traditional cream cheese (for instance, with spring onion).
The most popular type of unprocessed cheese in SA is cheddar, followed by mozzarella and gouda. Consumers
apparently prefer the taste of cheddar – a traditional flavour. “It is also considered an entry point into cheese. Consumers tend to try cheddar before trying other types of cheese. Gouda is popular for the same reason, although it carries a slightly higher unit price than cheddar.
Mozzarella is popular as a melted cheese topping due to both its format, and ‘lighter’ taste profile.”
Cheese is a niche category in Nigeria. Euromonitor’s report says although Nigerians consume lots of unpackaged local cheese such as “wara” in the southwest Nigeria, packaged cheese is not popular.
“The main consumer base (for packaged cheeses) is expatriates,” the report says.
The main growth driver of cheese in the country is its presence in retail outlets such as supermarkets, hypermarkets and independent small grocers, which increasingly stock Western-style products.
Growth is thus in line with urbanisation. A key trend likely to benefit the sales of Western-style cheeses is the sudden strong increase in the usage of cheese within sweet and savoury snacks in Nigeria and the strong growth of pizza takeaway chains in the country.
The vast majority of cheeses were sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets which last accounted for an estimated 88% share of retail sales value; the remainder came from sales through independent small grocers.
The Kenya report says consumption of cheese is growing there, particularly among the rising number of middle income consumers.This is attributed to changing cultures in many households “… as they adopt more western ways of life”.
The report also relates the rising numbers to a rising number of Western expatriates who settle in the country. “In addition, the increasing prevalence of international travel among the Kenyan population also means more exposure to Western foodstuffs and dishes.”
An important factor of growth in the cheese sector is an increasing availability of more varieties. This is combined with the growth in consumer knowledge of the uses and consumption occasions for different cheeses. These factors all contribute to the positive growth of cheese sales.
The average unit price of cheese was expected to continue increasing last year as a result of the rising cost of numerous inputs and ingredients for cheese, notably milk.
The most popular retail distribution channels remain the country’s supermarkets and hypermarkets. Combined, these accounted for 45% of total cheese retail sales by value in the country during the year.
“In order to generate a greater awareness of cheese, leading manufacturers such as Browns Cheese Factory hosts regular lunchtime cheese tasting events at its factory. It also collaborates with local hotels to conduct wine and cheese tasting events, all in a bid to foster the appreciation of cheese and obtain feedback on their products from local consumers.”
Euromonitor says that cheese is not particularly popular in this African country. Most cheese purchases there are by expatriates in Cameroon from European countries, it says.
“Some brands, however, such as La Vache Qui Rit, have succeeded in immersing themselves into local
consumption habits. However, most people still prefer butter, margarine, chocolate and honey as spread products.”
The value growth during 2014 was expected to be 5% – mostly attributed to the growing popularity of one specific brand – La Vache Qui Rit. The fastest value growth of 6% in the country was expected from unspreadable processed cheese.
The report says that the growing expatriate community finds cheese products in certain supermarkets which
cater for their tastes. No cheeses are manufactured locally; all are imported from other countries,
mainly France.
Consumers buy mostly packaged cheese in Cameroon. It is recognisable because of the packaging which
consumers are familiar with, according to Euromonitor.
Spreadable cheese is gaining popularity. Spreadable cheese is considered to be a substitute for butter,
and considered a treat because of its slightly higher price tag and its silver packaging. Mostly bought from supermarkets, cheese had been expected to account for a 51% value share of spreadable cheese last year.
Euromonitor International:
Tel +27 21 524 3000;