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Who is the ‘Jarlsberg man’? And what does your choice of cheese say about you?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2015 – March 2016 (n= 15,074), April 2018 – March 2019 (n= 14,722). Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+. 
New research from Roy Morgan shows that over 15 million Australians now buy some type of cheese with Block Cheese bought by 13.5 million Australians (85.1% of Australian grocery buyers) being easily the most popular type of cheese that Australians buy.

‘Jarlsberg man’ stands out from the average cheese buyer

Jarlsberg cheese is one of the more premium products in the cheese market and there are significant differences between the average buyer of Jarlsberg and a regular buyer of cheese.

‘Jarlsberg man’ is a big spender in the top socio-economic AB quintile most likely with no children in his Mid-Life Household and almost twice as likely to drink wine with his meals as the average Australian. ‘Jarlsberg man’ is more likely to agree that ‘You can tell a type of person by the type of car they drive’ and ‘trust well-known brands better than the stores’ own’.

‘Jarlsberg man’ is skewed heavily towards older Australians aged over 35 years or older and is far more likely to have a diploma or degree than the average cheese buyer and be working full-time as a professional or manager with a household income of well over $120,000 per annum.

For the man who enjoys his Jarlsberg cheese it’s important to ‘always read the business section of the newspaper’ and ‘watch the news on TV to keep up-to-date’. ‘Jarlsberg man’ is more likely than the average Australian to attend professional sporting events and work in his garden and is more than twice as likely to attend the ballet, opera, or go to a jazz, classical or blues performance.

Types of cheese bought by Australian grocery buyers – 2019 cf. 2016 

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2015 – March 2016 (n= 15,074), April 2018 – March 2019 (n= 14,722). Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+.

Grated/Shredded Cheese and Sliced Cheese drive growth in cheese market

Although Block Cheese is the most widely bought type of cheese the strongest growth over the last three years has come from a significant increases in Australians buying Grated/Shredded Cheese (up 2.6ppts to 68.3%), Sliced Cheese (up 2.4ppts to 67.7%) and Cheese Snacks or Portions (up 3ppts to 43.6%).

Slightly fewer than half of Australian grocery buyers now buy Creamed Cheese or Cheese Spreads (49.7%, up 0.4ppts) and just over a third of Australian grocery buyers buy Soft Cheese such as Brie, Camembert etc. (36.4%, up 0.9ppts). Cottage/Ricotta Cheese has seen the most significant decline down by 3ppts to 16.6% according to research conducted by Roy Morgan in the 12 months to March 2019.

Block Cheese buyers tend to be older than Grated/Shredded or Sliced Cheese buyers

The different types of cheeses Australians buy appeal to a diverse range of purchasers and from analysing Roy Morgan’s cheese buying profiles one can draw out the more unique qualities of a typical buyer of Block Cheese or Grated/Shredded Cheese, Sliced Cheese or indeed any of the different types of cheeses.

A pen-portrait of a buyer of the widely bought Block Cheese is of a woman in an Older Household in the well-off AB socio-economic quintile aged in her 50s or 60s who enjoys a Household Income in excess of $100,000 although she is retired herself.

She is more likely than the average Australian to be in the Traditional Family Life (*Roy Morgan Value Segments) and more likely to agree that ‘I like to drink wine with my meals’ and ‘People often compliment me on my cooking’. She is more likely to enjoy going to the live theatre and ‘always watch the news on TV to keep up-to-date’ and more likely to watch Lawn Bowls and Golf on TV.

Grated/Shredded Cheese buyer watches her weight but often buys take away food

In contrast a buyer of Grated/Shredded Cheese is a woman aged in her 30s or 40s living with children in a Young Couple or Young Parent household with a Household Income of over $110,000 and in full-time work. She is part of the Visible Achievement* or Socially Aware (*Roy Morgan Value Segments) and more likely than the average Australian to say that she ‘tries to buy additive free food’, ‘would like to be able to lose weight’ and ‘often buys take away food to eat at home’.

She is more likely than the average Australian to go to professional sporting events and enjoy watching the NRL, Car racing and the Olympic Games on TV, and more likely to consider magazines a good way to relax and unwind, and redeem coupons to get discounts or special offers.

Buyers of Sliced Cheese read Women’s Lifestyle Magazines and watch ‘Racing’ sports

The Sliced Cheese buyer is slightly older and likely aged in her 40s or 50s putting her squarely in Generation X. She’s a full-time White Collar worker from New South Wales or Victoria with a personal income of around $50,000 a year who is a keen reader of Women’s Lifestyle and TV Magazines.

More than the average Australian she believes crime is a growing problem in her community and tries to buy Australian made products as often as possible. She is more likely than the average Australian to ‘often buy frozen or chilled ready prepared meals’ and more likely to agree that ‘Taste is more important than ingredients’. She is also more likely to enjoy watching Car racing, Horse Racing and Motorcycle Racing on TV and more likely than the average Australian to go Fishing.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says:

“Australia’s cheese market is growing with over 15 million Australians now buying cheese, up from just over 13 million three years ago in 2016.

“This huge market is dominated by the popular Block Cheese now bought by over 13.5 million Australians although its penetration of the market has fallen from 85.7% in 2016 to 85.1% today.

“During this time period other varieties of cheese have enjoyed out-sized growth led by Grated/Shredded Cheese and Sliced Cheese with both now bought by over 10.7 million Australians and also Cheese Snacks or Portions now bought by nearly 7 million in the last year.

“Analysing the powerful data collected by Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey conducted with over 50,000 Australians each year allows a thorough analysis of the types of people that buy different types of the many varieties of cheese and including how they compare to other Australians and indeed other cheese buyers.

“Most cheese buyers are women who provide the bulk of custom for Blocked Cheese, Grated/ Shredded Cheese and Sliced Cheese but significant differences between cheese buyers emerge beneath that overlay.

“Block Cheese buyers tend to be older than those buying Grated/Shredded or Sliced Cheese and more likely to be retired and living in an Older Household. Grated/Shredded cheese buyers enjoy going to professional sporting events such as the NRL and consider magazines a good way to relax and unwind.

“Digging further into the types of brands people buy shows that Jarlsberg is a particular favourite of men, unlike many of its competitors which are usually bought by women. ‘Jarlsberg man’ is very well off compared to the average Australian, and other cheese buyers. He is well educated and in a good job earning good money and is someone you’re likely to catch reading the Australian Financial Review in his spare-time – or even at work.

“These insights allow a glimpse into the broad range of data available via Roy Morgan’s food and brand profiles for cheese and any other consumer product you might be interested in learning more about.

“Contact Roy Morgan to learn more about who buys Block Cheese or Sliced Cheese, or which type of Australians are buying leading brands such as Bega, Coon, Devondale, Mainland, Mersey Valley, Kraft, Perfect Italiano or many others.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%