Flavored cheeses continue to gain momentum in grocery specialty cheese cases, as consumers demand more variety and innovation.
Saputo USA offers a variety of flavored specialty cheeses for any occasion.
The Montchevre brand from Saputo USA, a division of Montreal-based Saputo, is known for its wide range of flavor offerings in a 4-oz log format, said Jenny Englert, senior marketing manager for Saputo USA.
One of the company’s unique flavored goat cheeses is Hibiscus Berry, described as having a complex flavor depth that is bright, tart and sweet, giving the consumer notes of sangria in cheese format. The cheese pairs well with a dry prosecco, champagne, or white wine to balance out the sweetness of the cheese and can be served with berries to complement the sweet and tart notes, or an assortment of nuts to bring out more tangy flavors.
Jalapeno Honey earned third place at the 2023 US Championship Cheese Contest. A favorite in the brand’s portfolio, it has a hot and spicy kick with a balancing hint of sweetness. The “sweet heat” combined with the fresh, creamy tang of the goat cheese was developed to add to any dish, dip or cheeseboard.
In addition, Englert said, Montchevre’s new Topped Line, which debuted in 2022, brings innovative goat cheese offerings to consumers who love to snack and entertain.
Gourmet sweet and savory ingredients top Montchevre rich and creamy goat cheese, bridging the gap between the use of compotes in restaurants versus at home. The unique flavors of the two varieties in the line, Cranberry Port and Roasted Red Pepper, were developed for sweet and savory palates.
“These are versatile snacks and accompaniments, are ideal for dipping, spreading and melting, and can be served alongside vegetables, fruit, bread, crackers and more,” Englert said.
Cranberry Port features a cranberry-forward flavor profile, mimicking cheesecake. The sweet topping pairs with a dry glass of prosecco to counterbalance the sweet notes of the cranberry, while graham crackers, shortbread or moderately sweet foods pair as dipping vessels.
Roasted Red Pepper welcomes tastebuds with pepper-forward, bright, acidic and assertive flavor profiles, and pairs well with light and white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and light red wines, such as Pinot Noir. The savory flavor profile welcomes food pairings like seasoned crackers and vegetables to balance the cheese and give it more herbal notes.
Saputo’s flavored cheese offerings also extend beyond the Montchevre brand, Englert said.
The company’s Black Creek line of award-winning cheeses features a unique range of bold-flavored aged cheddar and cheddar blends. Black Creek Cheddar with Parmesan Notes and Cheddar with Gruyere Notes are ideal for consumers as they slowly break out their outdoor gear and head back into grilling season, Englert said.
Cheddar with Parmesan Notes is a smooth, creamy cheddar cheese carefully blended with subtle notes of nutty parmesan. The mix of cheddar and parmesan flavors makes it perfect for flavorful grilled cheese sandwiches, rich macaroni and cheeses, and decadent cheese boards, Englert said. It pairs with fruity whites and reds or ales to enhance the complex flavors of this dynamic blend.
Cheddar with Gruyere Notes is a blend of robust cheddar paired with a hint of nutty, earthy and piquant gruyere flavors. It’s ideal for melting on soup or baked dishes, and pairs well with fruity Rieslings or floral pale ale.
Saputo USA’s roster of flavored cheeses also includes the Wensleydale line. Custodians of a 1000-year history of cheesemaking in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Wensleydale Creamery is the home of the famous crumbly Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese. Wensleydale Creamery uses traditional methods to handcraft artisan cheese by way of time-honored recipes and milk from local farms while also innovating new cheese recipes, Englert said.
One of the Wensleydale flavored cheeses for spring and summer is Yorkshire Wensleydale & Apricots. Sweet and fruity, it features a flavor combination of creamy, crumby Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese with the sweetness of succulent apricots.
Mimosa Wensleydale is described as a bright cheese that carefully combines candied orange zest and champagne for a festive experience. The cheese pairs well with mimosas, bubbles and rosé.
Wensleydale Cheddar with Caramelized Onions is a smooth, creamy cheddar, which is combined with rich, sweet, caramelized onions. This cheese brings texture and flavor to a grilled burger.
Smoked, dill, chili pepper trending
Roth Smoked Gouda, Roth Dill Havarti and 3 Chili Pepper Gouda have been the top sellers for Fitchburg, Wis.-based Emmi Roth for a number of years, said Kaitie Hackett, category manager.
In the fondue category, following its launch in late 2022, Emmi Beer Fondue has been the top new fondue item, Hackett added. It was also the top growth driver for the fondue category, driving the most growth in pounds and dollars.
In the feta category, meanwhile, Garlic & Herb drove the most volume growth out of all the feta flavors, followed by Mediterranean Herb. Emmi Roth’s Athenos feta has seen growth in both of those flavors, Hackett said.
Emmi Roth is currently marketing its Roth Dill Havarti and will soon be marketing its Roth Gouda line, which includes Hot Honey Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Spinach Artichoke Gouda and Buffalo Ranch Gouda.
When it comes to trends, smoked gouda has been and will continue to be the number one flavor of gouda, representing about 40% of the category, Hackett added.
“In recent years, we’ve seen more unique flavors that are helping to generate excitement and drive growth for the category.”
Those tastes change frequently. In 2019, for instance, alcohol-inspired flavors such as bourbon were the top-growing flavors. In 2022, spicy flavors took the top spot.
Dill, meanwhile, is the No. 1 flavor of Havarti. In 2022, Emmi Roth saw more herb-forward flavors enter the category, including Roth Tomato Basil Havarti.
The company’s newer flavored cheeses also include French Onion Havarti, Roth Hot Honey Gouda, Spinach Artichoke Gouda and Buffalo Ranch Gouda.
“Our team of expert cheesemakers, sales teams and marketing team continue to follow industry trends and look for opportunities to innovate in the deli cheese category, including new flavors and formats,” Hackett said. “We stay on top of flavor trends with help from our expert cheesemakers, input from our consumers and by using industry data. Tracking point-of-sale and menu trend data helps us identify flavors that are resonating with consumers and can help bring excitement and innovation to the deli cheese category.”
A top trend in flavored cheese, she added, is versatility, with products that can be enjoyed on a cheeseboard or as an ingredient in a recipe.
The company has also seen a lot of nostalgic flavors trending, which drove the creation of its Roth Spinach Artichoke and Buffalo Ranch Gouda, as well as Roth Tomato Basil and French Onion Havarti.
Some of Roth Cheese’s flavor innovations were recently recognized at the 2023 U.S. Cheese Championship. Roth Hot Honey Gouda earned a silver medal in the Flavored Gouda category with a score of 99.175. This new gouda was selected by consumers after a nationwide vote to “Choose The Next Roth Cheese.” The crowd-sourcing campaign set out to take cheesemaking out of the creamery and into the hands of cheese fans who voted on new flavors of Gouda including Hot Honey, Spinach Artichoke and Buffalo Ranch.
New from BelGioioso
New in flavored cheeses from Green Bay, Wis.-based BelGioioso Cheese are a Hatch Chile Fresh Mozzarella Braid, Sliced Marinated Fresh Mozzarella logs, Smoked Scamorza-Rella and Blueberry Artigiano, said Sofia Auricchio Krans, a fifth-generation cheesemaker with BelGioioso.
“Often flavors are added to give the cheese its flavor,” Krans said. “At BelGioioso, we create quality cheeses that already have great flavor, and we complement with a flavor that enhances, sometimes less is more.”
BelGioioso’s lineup of flavored cheeses also includes Espresso Mascarpone, Artigiano Vino, Balsamic and Blueberry wedges and snack, Burrata with Black Truffles, and others.