We never thought we would say it, but American cheese is becoming a thing of the past.
The generation is asking for cheeses with ingredients they can actually name. Which may not be the worst idea in the world… But it’s also leading to the death of a great utilitarian staple. Gen X-ers were huge fans of American cheese and all of its subsequent products (i.e. Velveeta and other inner-aisle mac and cheese). But now, younger consumers are demanding more control over what they’re putting in their bodies.
Brands are heeding that request, and they’re replacing American cheese with fancier cheeses. Even fast-food chains are making these changes: Wendy’s now offers asiago, Panera sells a grilled cheese that combines fontina, cheddar, monteau, and smoked gouda, and McDonald’s has ditched the artificial preservatives in their American cheese.
Saying goodbye to American cheese and getting fancy has panned out well: these businesses are generating higher sales because of it.
Data shows that the national sales of processed cheese are dropping for the fourth year in a row. And when you look at where growth is occurring in the cheese manufacturing world, you gain even more insight. Cheese factories increased their production 40 percent in the past 17 years, but most of that is coming from smaller, specialty makers. And grocery stores have started selling American cheese for less than $4 a pound – the first time the price has dipped that low since 2011.
Dwindling sales of American cheese reflect new priorities. At the time that the cheese was made, consumers prioritized simple, utilitarian choices. They wanted convenience. And the cheese served that purpose. But now, they’re looking for something purer and more organic.
But we’ll ask you… How often do you eat American cheese?
Data Source: time.com