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Is our love affair with cheese souring?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2008 –March 2013, average yearly sample n = 19,615.
To misquote former PM Malcolm Fraser, life wasn’t meant to be cheesy — especially in Australia, where cheese sales are slowly declining. In the 12 months to March this year, 89% of Australian grocery buyers reported purchasing cheese, down from 92% in the 12 months to March 2009.

Recent findings from Roy Morgan Research show that it’s primarily younger shoppers who are turning their backs on cheese: as of March 2013, 85% of grocery buyers aged 25-34 bought cheese in an average 12-month period, down from 91% in the year to March 2009. The proportion of older grocery shoppers (those aged 50+) buying cheese in an average year sits at 93%, unchanged from five years ago.

Over the same time period, an increasing number of younger Australians reported that they “avoid dairy foods whenever possible” (14% of 25-34 year olds, up from 11% in the year to March 2009), while the 50+ age group remained stable at 13%.

Cheese bought in last 12 months, by age group

cheese sales declining

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2008 –March 2013, average yearly sample n = 19,615.

Angela Smith, Group Account Manager — Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

It’s interesting to see that a growing number of younger Australians are not only choosing to buy less cheese but turning their backs on dairy products in general. However, the majority (68%) still try to get enough calcium in their diet, which may go some way to explaining why 85% of them continue to purchase cheese despite their age group’s move away from dairy.

“Also interesting to see is how different kinds of cheese have sold over the last five years. Block cheese, sliced cheese and soft cheese (eg. Brie, Camembert) have lost the most ground, with only cheese snacks and ricotta/cottage cheese remaining stable.

“In this changing industry, it’s vital for dairy companies to understand the detailed market trends impacting their brands and competitors to ensure they remain competitive.”

Click here to view our extensive range of cheese profiles, including  Block, Creamed, Shredded, Sliced and Cheese Snack buyer profiles, or our range of Media Profiles including internet, social media, television, pay TV, radio and more.  These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith, Group Account Manager — Consumer Products

Telephone: +61 (2) 9021 9100


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About Roy Morgan Research

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

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

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%