Fall, 2017

From the Editor

Specialty Cheeses At ‘Deep-discount’ Prices

For most consumers, the day is long past where the only place to purchase specialty cheese is a high-end specialty store. The news reports are filled with speculation as to how Amazon’s expected takeover of Whole Foods might impact both organizations and their offerings. That is for the future… immediately, though, consumers are being offered a new opportunity to shop at “deep-discounter” retailers.

How it will all shake out in the U.S. is yet to be determined, but in the United Kingdom, where deep discounters have long battled with supermarkets, they are winning market share with both high-quality products and very low prices – albeit with a more limited assortment. In a recent competition in which consumers were surveyed by The Grocer, a British trade magazine, both Lidl and Aldi beat out British supermarkets, including high-end stores such as Marks & Spencer, for having the best private label specialty cheeses. And the prices weren’t even close. For example, the “Category Champion” in Brie was described this way:

Lidl Deluxe Somerset Brie

Consumer testers loved this “creamy” and “delicious” Brie, with 98% of them saying they would buy it at least fortnightly for a weekend treat for themselves, or when they were entertaining guests. Our expert judges were equally impressed by this “classic, premium” cheese, which, at just 99p (140g), they thought represented “stunningly good value”.

The judges were too polite to say it, but that is less than half the price of private label Brie at Marks & Spencer. And the deep discounters were no slouch in innovation either. Aldi won for that:


Aldi Specially Selected Normandy Baking Camembert with a Fruity Cranberry Glaze 

The novelty appearance of this ready-to-heat Camembert appealed to consumers, who were also impressed by its “smooth, rich” texture and “sweet, fruity” taste. Most agreed it would be ideal for entertaining. Our expert judges scored it highly for innovation because it gave shoppers the chance to enjoy “gastro pub grub at home”.

Both Aldi and Lidl are focusing on “private label” lines of wine, charcuterie and specialty cheese, letting consumers know that inexpensive doesn’t mean cheap. Certainly, many consumers will still want high-end assortments, but will value the opportunity to get really good cheese at inexpensive prices. Maybe the opportunity will be right for you to increase your own purchases of specialty cheese. CC