The global feta cheese market size was valued at USD 11.5 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 19 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Feta is a salty curd cheese prepared from various milk, including cow, goat, and sheep. It is thought to be the cheese that is the healthiest overall. It includes fatty acids that aid in weight management and offer many health advantages. Additionally, since feta cheese provides calcium and protein, which help the body regulate blood sugar levels, it may lessen the chance of developing diabetes. Contrary to other cheeses, its advantages have piqued consumer interest.
Hypertensive individuals consume healthy food items, and feta cheese, which has therapeutic properties, is crucial in decreasing blood pressure. Feta cheese is unique among cheeses due to its healing properties and high vitamin content. However, feta cheese has several drawbacks due to the high salt content added during the cheese-making process. Also, due to hazardous microorganisms, pregnant women are prohibited from ingesting them. These considerations mentioned above may constrain the market expansion.
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The US is one of the most developed regions in the world and thus attracts numerous immigrants for job opportunities. As cultural values are imbibed, immigrants carry them wherever they migrate. This has a significant impact on the modern food culture of the US. For instance, pasta and pizza are commonly consumed food products in the US. Moreover, European cuisine has been considerably adopted in the international market, such as the English breakfast has become a continental breakfast, in which feta cheese is predominant. Therefore, the growing popularity of European food culture and Greek feta cheese boosts the demand for feta cheese, thereby driving the market.
Internet, television shows, magazines, and newspapers are the key sources that make people aware of different cultures. Increased globalization leads to growth in awareness and exposure to diverse food traditions and cuisines across various countries, driving the demand for new cuisines. Raclette and cheesesteak have witnessed increasing popularity in the US. Over the past few years, the food service sector has increased dramatically, owing to the demand for international cuisines that predominantly use feta cheese. This factor is expected to contribute to the growth of the global feta cheese market.
Feta cheese is a perishable food item. Hence, the challenge of transportation and storage has been a significant concern for cheese makers. As cheese requires an optimal temperature to maintain its freshness, shipping from the producer to the consumer plays a crucial role in retaining the quality of cheese. Owing to the lack of proper storage facilities in many parts of the supply chain, cheese loses its characteristics, and its quality is compromised, leading to a decline in demand. Therefore, the lack of storage facilities and proper transportation restrain the market growth.
The development of technology and innovation in cheese-making has helped cheesemakers introduce different types of cheese to cater to changing customer tastes and preferences. Consumers' lifestyles, consumption patterns, product preferences, and demands are trending. Therefore, to meet these trending demands of consumers, different cheese flavors such as smoked cheese, alcohol-flavored cheese, hot spicy, peppery cheese, herbs & floral-flavored cheese, sweet-flavored cheese, fruit-filled & chocolate cheese, and others have been introduced into the market.
Additionally, as health awareness has grown among consumers, cheese producers are producing low-fat and low-cholesterol cheese. Consequently, it is predicted that the availability of feta cheese in various tastes, colors, and textures to meet the evolving needs of consumers will be a lucrative potential for market growth over the forecast period.
The global feta cheese market share is segmented by source, type, and distribution channel.
Source-wise, the global feta cheese market is classified into Goat Milk, Cow Milk, and Sheep Milk.
The Sheep Milk segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. The demand for sheep milk is rising due to its superior qualities compared to cow, goat, and buffalo milk. The shift in preference toward sheep milk for producing high-quality and high-yielding cheese significantly drives the market's growth. Furthermore, new genetically engineered sheep are used for high milk production to address problems such as seasonal milking and shortage of milk supply, which lead to market growth.
The Cow Milk segment is the fastest growing. Cow milk is most suitable for manufacturing cheese, owing to its easy availability. With the increased use of cheese in recipes, cow milk has dominated the cheese industry for ages. This trend is expected to continue in the near future due to the variety of cow milk available in the market, such as whole, skimmed, low-fat, and others. Furthermore, the high cow milk production from European countries, namely Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and France, drives this segment. Therefore, an increase in consumption of cheese and cheese-related products is anticipated to propel the use of cow milk.
Goat Milk is easier to digest than cow milk due to its higher presence of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C and its homogenous nature. For example, Chèvre, a French goat cheese, which is soft, fresh, and creamy in texture, is available in different flavors such as herbs and nuts. The demand for feta cheese made from goat milk is high due to less fat and less cholesterol. It only contains one-third calories of cream cheese, which benefits the health. Furthermore, the tanginess of the goat cheese due to the presence of fatty acids gives a distinct appeal, which drives the market growth.
Type-wise, the global feta cheese market is classified into French Feta, Bulgarian Feta, German Feta, and Others.
German Feta is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period. Since consumers' tastes and preferences are changing and more people are leading healthy lifestyles, there is an increasing demand for German feta cheese. Consumers are becoming aware of the flavor of the food they eat due to the rising knowledge and comprehension of the advantages of the products. Hence, the consumption of German feta cheese is expected to increase considerably.
The Bulgarian Feta segment is the fastest growing. The demand for Bulgarian feta cheese in the developed markets is growing rapidly. This is attributed to evolving lifestyles and changing trends in the food & beverage industry, which boosts the demand for functional and healthy food products. Several brands have also introduced their range of fresh Bulgarian feta cheese. Therefore, an increase in consumer inclination toward Bulgarian feta cheese is expected to drive the growth of this segment.
Distribution channel-wise, the global feta cheese market is classified into B2B and B2C.
The Business to Business (B2B) channel is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. B2B is further divided into Full-Service Restaurants, Fast Food Outlets, Catering Services, and Others. The rise in demand for various fast foods from the leading food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Dominos is anticipated to boost the demand for cheese through the B2B distribution channel. High consumption of pizzas, burgers, and pasta is the key factor that augments the growth of the feta cheese market.
The Business to Consumers (B2C) segment is the fastest growing. B2C is further divided into Hypermarkets/Supermarkets, Food Specialty Stores, Convenience Stores, and Others. Feta cheese is expected to witness high demand, as it is used to prepare various regular dishes such as pasta, sandwiches, burgers, salad dressing, and topping. It is also consumed with wine or standalone. In addition, an increase in demand for feta cheese sales through the B2C distribution channel for household consumption is also driving the market growth.
Region-wise, the global feta cheese market share is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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The global feta cheese market in Europe is the highest shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period. It is likely to witness a remarkable growth rate during the forecast period. Due to changes in lifestyle and a surge in demand for fresh and ready-to-eat food among millennials, Germany and the Netherlands have the largest markets for feta cheese in Europe. The need for feta cheese in Europe is further driven by increased application areas, accessible pricing, and increased consumer knowledge of the benefits of cheese. Moreover, its rising adoption in quick-service restaurants is expected to create lucrative opportunities for the market.
Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region. The increase in demand for cheese products such as feta cheese and cheddar cheese in emerging economies like China, India, and Australia is playing a pivotal role in the growth of the feta cheese market. This is primarily due to changing lifestyles in the region. Moreover, an increase in investments by several small and mid-sized food manufacturing companies in developing countries also supports the market growth. The significant drivers for the feta cheese market are the high population, taste & preferences of the consumer, and the growing number of fast-food trucks.
North America is the second largest region. The North American feta cheese market is projected to reach USD 4,280 million, growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period. The primary factor that drives the growth of the feta cheese market in the US is a rise in the number of health-conscious consumers due to the hectic lifestyle. Consumers are increasingly opting for different types of cheese, resulting in strong requirements for cheese products. Therefore, manufacturers focus on introducing new feta cheese to meet this rise in the requirement of protein among consumers.
The key players in the global feta cheese market include Arla Foods amba, Fonterra Co-operative Group, Lactalis American Group, Inc., Saputo Inc, Dodoni S.A., Kolios S.A. Mevgal, SADAFCO, The Kraft Heinz Company, and Clover Leaf Cheese Ltd.