Grilling cheese didn’t go up in smoke

By: Szalai László Date: 2024. 04. 26. 11:57

The average price of grilling cheese is much higher (nearly twice as much) than the average cheese price, so it is no wonder that last year’s buying backlash hit the segment harder than other cheese categories.

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/5

Péter Fábián
brand manager
Savencia Fromage &
Dairy Hungary

“In the case of grilling cheese, the decline in volume sales for the full years 2021 and 2023 was about double the decline in the overall cheese market”,

explains Péter Fábián, brand manager of Savencia Fromage & Dairy Hungary Zrt.

 They didn’t give up

Nagy Béla - Kőröstej

Béla Nagy
managing director

Kőröstej felt that many cheese companies “gave up” last year’s barbecue season: they tried to optimise production efficiency, but were concentrating only on mass-market products rather than grilling cheese.

“Seeing the almost catastrophic figures, we changed the strategy of the Hajdú brand in the spring of 2023. We considered reducing the product size, which is so common today, but we quickly rejected it, because we don’t think it is a fair solution to the market problems. Instead of this we kept our pricing as tight as possible, and prepared a spectacular marketing and communication campaign for the peak summer season”,

recalls Béla Nagy, managing director of Kőröstej Kft.

Thanks to a particularly successful second half of the year, Hajdú’s year-on-year grilling cheese sales increased significantly.

Brands continue innovating and consolidating their positions despite the temporary market downturn

Unique products, special launches

As grilling cheese is a relatively new segment with high potential and consumers who are open to new flavours, innovations and position strengthening will continue despite the momentary downturn. In 2023 a new product in the Hajdú portfolio was grilling cheese with Gyulai sausage seasoning, while other innovations last year were developed and launched in a truly unconventional way. The company did a campaign with three popular influencers, during which they generated around 3 million reaches and thousands of people voted on what kind of new Hajdú grilling cheese should appear in stores. This April a blueberry-jalapeno grilling cheese hit the shops.

Grilled cheese represent a perfect response to several current trends

Revised brand strategy

Savencia wishes to make selling even more effective by revising their brand strategy, while the recipe and main parameters of their grilling cheeses remain unchanged. This step has been preceded by a consumer survey, which has identified a number of trends to which the company is trying to respond with Savencia grilling cheeses, e.g. flexitarian diet, lower meat consumption, high protein foods, healthy eating, etc. This year they are significantly expanding the grilling range, all Savencia grilling cheeses will be renewed and become available under the Karaván brand. The company is going to offer 4 types of grilled cheese, 8 products in total, in both smoked and unsmoked versions.

Feedback from brand loyal consumers plays a role not only in marketing but also in product development

A frying pan is enough

The last few years haven’t necessarily been about innovation in the cheese category, but the young cheese factory of Agrár Zrt. has launched the Kotányi seasoning variants of grilling cheese that can be prepared in a frying pan.

Erzsébet Nagy
marketing manager

“The product can be cooked simply in a frying pan, basically anywhere and anytime”,

says Erzsébet Nagy, marketing manager of Gallicoop Zrt., the distributor of the products.

The natural grilling cheese has been created for children and for gourmets who like the flavours of spicy sauces, but the product selection also includes cheeses with bear’s garlic, basil, chilli and smoked black pepper.




Brands offering valuable deals and promotions can attract cost-conscious consumers


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