TILLAMOOK, ORE. – The dairy experts at Tillamook County Creamery Association unveiled the trends they expect to be prevalent in the new year. Their roundup of 2024’s top dairy trends pointed to new twists on cheddar, spices, amaro, burgers and air fryers.

Tillamook shared that some of the trend predictions were influenced by analyzing how consumers are grocery shopping and prepping their foods.

"It was really fun to step back from our day-to-day work to think about how trends we are seeing here in the Pacific Northwest or in our industry may impact restaurants, dinner tables and charcuterie boards nationwide," said Katie Petri, Tillamook’s director of consumer and market insights.

The dairy processor’s "Predict the Yum" team identified “the cheddar plunge” as a coming dairy trend, noting that a sharp cheddar soaked in wine, shrub or ale “completely changes the cheese experience, bringing an unexpected flavor.”

As a recommendation, Tillamook suggested using one of its vintage Maker's Reserve Extra Sharp White Cheddars, soaking it in Pinot Noir for as long as two to three days and then cold drying the cheese.

In another trend, Tillamook said spices, especially those with bold favors and a global influence, will help people replicate flavor experiences from all around the world.

Thirdly, with amaro growing in popularity, the dairy experts said herb-infused Italian liqueurs pair well with cheese, particularly at the end of a meal.

While burgers with cheese are nothing new, Tillamook noted that smash burgers are becoming more prominent, and burgers made with “unique and specialty ingredients” are trendy on menus.

The convenience and versatility of air fryers, the dairy experts explained, have made the appliances a common household item. Tillamook’s team suggested elevating recipes by making grilled cheese, jalapeno poppers, nachos and the like in an air fryer.