In Europe, brand loyalty towards the overall cheese category is low, with only one in seven (15% across all four countries) consumers agreeing that it is worth paying more for branded cheese. For most European consumers, a well-known brand is of less importance than cheese origin, with only a fifth of French (21%) and Italian (22%) consumers, 17% of Spanish consumers, and 9% of German consumers viewing brands as an important criterion of choice.
The opportunity for brands, as well as private label, to be awarded protected origin certification is diluting brands’ critical point of difference: product reliability. Consumers tend to associate a wider range of positive attributes with brands compared to private label, particularly trustworthiness (52% of Uk consumers), traditional (51%) and authentic (44%) qualities. However, private label comes to the forefront for offering value for money (82%). Moreover, the role of brands can be substituted by protected origin certifications. For consumers looking for authenticity, the PDO/PGI logo featured on cheese packaging will provide the required assurance. A fifth of French (20%), Italian (21%) and German (22%) consumers prefer to buy cheese from the country it traditionally comes from. (source: Mintel Global Market Research)