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The cheese market in Spain

Andrea Villarino. Journalist

The moving annual total (MAT) at 19 April 2015 for sales of cheese in Spain was 443.5 million euros, i.e. a decline of 4.5% with respect to the same period last year, according to data from consulting firm IRI Group. Volume also slipped, by 6.2% in year-on-year terms, to 98,472 tons.

In terms of categories, traditional cheese from Burgos dominates the market, accounting for 47.9% of revenues and 40.1% of sales volume, i.e. stable figures compared with last year. Fresh cheeses, which includes petit-suisse in other sub-categories, take second place, accounting for 30.1% of revenues and a slightly higher sales volume of 42.4%. Despite a decline of 2.2% in value and 2.8% in volume, it continues to be the second-largest category in terms of value and the first in volume in Spain. All products in the category registered slides; however, cheese mousse saw the largest decline, with revenues dropping from 1.1 million euros in the MAT at 20 April 2014 to just 82,000 euros in sales in the most recent period analyzed, nosediving 92.5%.

In contrast, cream cheese slightly expanded its market share, accounting for 18.9% of sales in 2013 and 20.9% in 2014; it also accounted for 16.6% of the sales volume (up from 14.6%), according to IRI's most recent data. Cottage cheese's performance remained practically flat, accounting for 1.1% of revenues and 0.9% of volume.

Brand name products catch up with the private label segment

The private label segment, with revenues of 185.8 million euros, broadly dominates the market with 41.9% in terms of value and 54.5% in terms of the volume of cheeses sold in Spain. However, that segment saw a decline in the last 12 months, of 11.1% in value and 10.6% in volume.

The most popular brand is still Danone, with 15.1% of revenues, i.e. 0.3 points more than in the previous period, and 18.1% of volume, an increase of 0.4 points. It's followed by Arias, whose share in terms of value, 13.2%, remains stable, but whose share in terms of volume, 7.5%, declined by 0.2 points. Kraft ranks third and is the producer that has profited the most from the decline in private label sales, increasing its market share by 1.7 percentage points, to 11.3% in terms of value, and by 1.4 percentage points, to 6.9% in terms of volume.

It's important to note that other leading brands, such as Lactalis, Nestlé, Central Lechera Asturiana and Clesa, among others, account for 18.5% of revenues and 13% of volume.

Performance, by category

In the case of cream cheese, the private label segment's market share declined by 2.1 percentage points, with the result that it now ranks second in this category, accounting for 35.5% of revenues. Meanwhile, Philadelphia brand cream cheese ranks first due to growth of 4.9 percentage points, accounting for 37.3% of revenues for this product. Having consideration for the various Philadelphia products (Philadelphia, Philadelphia Light, Philadelphia Milka and Philadelphia Corazón Cremoso), the brand accounts for 52.9% of sales value, up 3.2 percentage points with respect to the previous year, and 41.3% of volume, an improvement of 4.5 percentage points. As a result, Philadelphia is the category leader, with revenues of 49.2 million euros.

In the traditional cheese from Burgos category, private label brands rank first, with revenues of 98.6 million euros, despite losing some of their market share (2.4 percentage points), which amounts to 46.5%. The leading brand name in this category is Burgo de Arias, with revenues of 34.8 million euros and 16.4% of the market. Other brands fall considerably short of private label and Burgo de Arias. Vega e Hijos has a market share of 6.9%, Burgo de Arias 0% has 4.1%, and Montesinos has 3.3%.

Montesinos is a leader in the cottage cheese segment, with revenues of 2 million euros and a market share of 39.1%. It's followed by El Pastoret, with revenues of 856,955 euros and a market share of 16.2%, down almost 50% compared with the previous period. Granja Rinya ranks third, with revenues of 658,742 euros and a growing market share: 7.1% in 2013 and 12.4% in 2014.

Large supermarkets remain in the lead

Among the various stores analyzed by IRI, large supermarkets (1,001 to 2,500 square meters) are responsible for the most sales, accounting for 50% of cheese sales, with revenues of 221.9 million euros according to the MAT at 19 April 2015. Medium-sized supermarkets (401 to 1,000 square meters) accounted for 24.5% of sales in terms of value, with revenues of 108.4 million euros. Hypermarkets ranked third, with 13.3% of the sales value and revenues of 58.7 million euros. In last place are small supermarkets (100 to 400 square meters) which, although they shed 0.5 percentage points of market share in year-on-year terms, they obtained 12.2% of the value of sales and revenues totaling 54.4 million euros.

This distribution of sales remained stable compared with the previous year, with the exception of minor variations, the biggest of which affected large supermarkets, which increased the value of their sales by 0.9%.

Southern Spain, leaders in cheese consumption

According to data from IRI, southern Spain is the region where cheese consumption is highest, totaling 94 million euros and accounting for 21.2% of total consumption in Spain. It is followed by Central-Eastern Spain, where revenues amounted to 74 million euros, i.e. 16.8% of the total, and the Madrid metropolitan area ranks third, with revenues of 58.1 million euros, i.e. 13.2% of the total.

Fourth place goes to Northeast Spain, with 51.4 million euros (11.7%), Northwest Spain ranks fifth with 46.5 million euros (10.5%), Northern Spain comes in sixth with 43.2 million euros (9.7%), the Barcelona metropolitan area ranks seventh with 38.8 million euros (8.7%) and Central Spain is last, with 36.7 million euros (8.2%).

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10/09/2015