The consumption of more traditional types of cheese, such as mozzarella and requeijão is higher in Brazil than that of special or international cheeses, such as Camembert or Brie. However, the fact that the Brazilian law banning the sale of all raw milk cheeses (not pasteurised) has recently been lifted, is a good opportunity to be explored and boost the production of traditional local artisan white cheeses. This change in the law means that cheese-makers will no longer have to smuggle traditionally-made cheese around the country for sale in specialist shops.
The measure benefits mainly the producers of the Minas Gerais State, the main producer of this sort of cheese, which are a Cultural Heritage of Brazil, as they use a technique which dates back many centuries. The ban being lifted also means these cheeses are now part of the formal market and they will be also sold outside Minas Gerais state.
With regard to major cheese manufacturers, they may face additional competition against local artisan cheese manufacturers whose offer will likely expand nationally. However, major players can benefit from additional means of innovation to widen their specialty cheese product lines by also incorporating other local and international cheese recipes which could not have been broadly manufactured before the withdrawal of the law.
The Mintel Cheese Brazil report reveals that Mozzarella is consumed by 88% of Brazilians, Requeijão by 76%, White Cheese by 72%, and Camembert or Brie by only 25%. The reasons behind the lower consumption of specialty cheese is their higher price, but there is also the fact that many Brazilians are still not aware of these types of specialty cheese.
The higher offer of local artisan cheese may also increase consumer awareness of non conventional options. This in turn will increase competition among different cheese segments and may also impact positively on specialty cheese demand, and consumers may look forward to trading up from conventional options more frequently.
The lack of awareness of specialty cheeses can also potentially be remedied by including specialty cheeses in the same pack as more traditional ones, such as in a selection pack. Product sampling at points of sale could be another means of introducing Brazilian consumers to these international cheeses in hyper/supermarkets.