U.S. Cream Cheese Market - Statistics & Facts

Cream cheese is a type of soft and mild-tasting cheese. Made from milk and cream, it is intended to be consumed fresh, hence, it differs from other soft cheeses like Brie and Neufchâtel. Moreover, its taste and texture as well as its production methods are similar to those of mascarpone and Boursin (a particular brand of Gournay cheese).

Contrary to popular belief, cream cheese was not accidentally invented by William Lawrence in the late 1800s. Cream cheese recipes were already available in U.S. books, periodicals and cookbooks in the earlier part of that century. However, Lawrence was the pioneer in the mass production of cream cheese. Initially, Lawrence produced Neufchâtel cheese in New York in 1872. Three years later, he began manufacturing Neufchâtel added with cream, to make a richer and more delicate cheese available to the market—a creation he called “cream cheese”.

In 2016, cream cheese accounted for approximately 9.6 percent of cheese volume sales in the United States. According to a survey, almost three-fourths of U.S. households had consumed cream cheese in 2015. That year, regular cream cheese was the most popular cream cheese variety among U.S. consumers, followed by light/low-fat, fat-free/non-fat, and flavored types. In addition to that, brick cream cheese was the preferred form of cream cheese in the country, as opposed to soft/spread or whipped.

Kraft Heinz was the leading manufacturer of brick cream cheese in the U.S. in 2016. That year, the company generated over 173 million U.S. dollars in nationwide sales of brick cream cheese. Kraft Heinz’s brand portfolio includes leading cream cheese brand, Philadelphia. In 2014, U.S. retail sales of Philadelphia brick cream cheese exceeded 434 million U.S. dollars. Currently, Philadelphia Cream Cheese spreads feature fresh fruits and vegetables and contain no artificial flavors. The spreads are available in an assortment of flavors: Strawberry, Smoked Salmon, Pineapple, Spicy Jalapeno, Honey Pecan, Garden Vegetable, Chive & Onion, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon, Blueberry, Olive, Peach, and Black Cherry.

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