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What do your cheese choices say about you?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416

Less festively-inclined sectors of the population would agree that Christmas can be pretty cheesy, what with the chintzy decorations, sentimental movie reruns on TV and kitsch shop-window displays. It can also be cheesy in a literal sense, as Aussies over-indulge in festive fare that may very well involve cheese of some description. All of which is a roundabout way of raising the question: what does your choice of cheese say about you? The latest Roy Morgan data reveals all…

In an average month, 76.3% of Australian grocery buyers (aged 14+) purchase at least one kind of cheese. Block cheese is the most popular, with 55.1% of grocery buyers purchasing it in an average month, followed by sliced cheese (35.8%) and grated/shredded cheese (33.1%).

Soft cheese (18.4%), creamed cheese/cheese spread (10.5%), cottage/ricotta cheese (9.9%) and cheese snacks/portions (5.7%) also have their devotees, but their appeal is markedly more niche.

Type of cheese bought by Australian grocery buyers in an average four weeks


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416

Given how different these cheeses are to each other, it makes sense that they’d attract different kinds of consumers. The latest findings from Roy Morgan indicate that this is certainly the case.

Cheese choices and consumer types

Even block cheese, purchased by more than half of all grocery buyers, stands out in its own way. For example, New Zealand- and British-born Aussies are both 23% more likely than the population average to buy block cheese in an average four weeks. (In contrast, Asian-born Australians are a whopping 72% less likely to buy it.)

The popularity of block cheese also peaks among the Roy Morgan Food Segment known as ‘Trendsetters’. For these gourmet-loving foodies, it’s all about new flavours and recipes: no doubt they’d put block cheese to good use in their culinary pursuits.

On the other hand, sliced cheese is especially popular with folks known as ‘Zappits’. As their name suggests, Zappits aren’t big on cooking (or any food preparation, really), so the absolute ease and convenience of cheese slices would suit them fine.   

Almost as likely to buy sliced cheese as Zappits are Aussies aged 35-49 years—many of them time-poor parents looking for quick, healthy snacks for their kids.

Different kinds of cheese buyers: how they differ


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2015-September 2016, n=14,416. Base: Australian grocery buyers 14+ (except BMI, which is grocery buyers 18+)

Sliced cheese is also a hit among Australian adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) classified as obese, who are 20% more likely than the average grocery buyer to buy it in any given four weeks— just as they are for grated/shredded cheese too. Those at the underweight end of the BMI spectrum are much more likely than their heavier counterparts to opt for soft and creamed cheese.

Not surprisingly, soft cheese is favoured by people who like to drink wine with their meals and entertain at home, while cottage/ricotta cheese’s elevated popularity with European-born Australians, as well as people who like to eat healthily and are concerned about their weight, is similarly predictable.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Cheese buyers are a diverse bunch, and in today’s gradually shrinking cheese market, brands need to ensure that they are marketing their various cheese products to the right target audience. For example, a quick glimpse at the table above confirms that a grocery buyer who purchases soft cheese is focused on entirely different aspects of the culinary experience than someone who buys shredded cheese.

“The ethnic background of cheese buyers is also interesting. Obviously a higher number of Australian-born Aussies buy cheese than any other group, but higher proportions of people from non-Australian backgrounds buy it: with Kiwis, British- and European-born Aussies, and North Americans all distinguishing themselves for different cheeses. Without exception, people of Asian descent are well below average for buying cheese.

“The table above also hints at another key trend: cheese’s popularity with older Aussies. Roy Morgan data reveals that the under-25 age group is almost 30% less likely than the average grocery buyer to purchase cheese of any kind, with 25-34 year-olds also below average.

“Of course, this is just a high-level summary of Australians who buy different kinds of cheese. Roy Morgan Single Source data allows brands to explore these consumers in much greater depth: by examining their demographics, attitudes and other grocery-buying habits, it’s possible to identify exactly who is more and less likely to buy different types of cheese. In a downward-trending market, it is crucial to focus on those shoppers most likely to be responsive to your product…”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%