MADISON, WIS. – Examining consumer behaviors and how cheese makers may respond, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) released a new report outlining trends that are expected to impact the food industry.

Per the report, 2024’s tendencies will involve both tradition and innovation. It identified five key trends: “cultivating connection,” “at-home culinary haven,” “mindful indulgence,” “a constant eye on global health” and “flavor frenzy.”

Suzanne Fanning, DFW senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Wisconsin Cheese, said the world’s most successful businesses “truly understand” consumers.

"What people care about and what drives them should always be top of mind for marketers,” Fanning said. “That's why we constantly ask questions, review data and learn as much as possible. Recently we've uncovered five key trends that dominated our research and provide great insight for what's to come in 2024, ranging from the power of connections to global health."

The report’s key takeaways included:

• Consumers “value close relationships with family, friends, and their community,” and people come together around food for special occasions.

• More consumers are eating at home, leading to elevated home-cooked meals with quality ingredients.

• Small treats and sensory rewards are characterized as “mindful indulgence,” with data showing almost half of consumers consider themselves influenced by traditional and nostalgic flavors.

• The well-being of the planet and its future is on consumers’ minds, so they are more conscious of ingredient sources and companies’ sustainability initiatives. The availability of recycled and sustainable packaging also may influence purchases.

• International flavors and unexpected blends pique consumers’ interests, and purchasing behaviors are at least somewhat driven by social media.

The nonprofit’s full report is available to download online via the DFW website.