Viral Trends: Could “Cheese Tea” be the next big thing in Europe?

Cheese Tea, or naigai cha, has taken Asia by storm and we wonder could it become the next big thing in European cafés? It was developed by street vendors in Taiwan in around 2010 and has spread across the region and is very popular in China. It has made inroads in the USA and in Europe, although it’s not quite reached the same momentum yet.

The increasingly popular cheese tea has variants made with salty or sweet cream cheese and also versions made with cheddar cheese. Tea masters recommend drinking the beverage straight from the edge of the cup at a 40 ° angle and not blending the layers. Straws are not generally used with this drink.

The base of the drink is normally a cold regular green or black tea or matcha tea and the cheesy topping floats on the surface. Sometimes other flavours are added such as fruits and spices, even chocolate and coffee are used. As a drink it is meant to be more like a milkshake, not like the hot milky tea we traditionally drink here in Ireland. Cheese tea has been trending in coffee shops in Asia and increasingly in the US and Europe. It’s also been trending on instagram with over 89,000 posts with the hashtag #cheesetea.

It might sound strange to many to add cheese to drinks, but cheese has also been part of Scandinavian beverages traditionally. Kaffeost is coffee poured over cubes of cheese, the coffee cheese is made from milk and rennet which is heated, allowed to solidify to curd and then baked in the oven. It is reminiscent of cheesecake.

These are some more of the #cheesetea images from Instagram. Do they inspire you to offer Cheese Tea to your customers?

Read more:

Atlas Obscura
Cup and Leaf Blog
The Guardian

Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range cheeses to the food industry. Our Yellow Road cheese is the leading food service brand in Ireland and we export cheese all over the world to over 30 countries.

Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

Bord Bia Consumer Insight Report – Cheddar Cheese

consumer research cheddarBord Bia, the Irish Food Board, conducted conducted extensive consumer research in cheddar cheese buying habits. This is a summary of the findings.

The research found that 45% of participants expressed that they “couldn’t live without cheese”. Almost three quarters of respondents (72%) consumed Cheddar Cheese on a weekly+ basis with 14% of those daily users. 85% of respondents stated that cheese was healthy and nutritious with 84% also recognising that cheese is a natural product which is high in protein.


Families found it particularly useful in their household because of its versatility (96%), likeability (89%) and children will eat it (87%) and they enjoy the taste of cheddar (94%). By far the most popular use for cheddar is in a cheese toastie (52%).

Value for money is important to consumers and cheese showed itself to be with 85% seeing it as a relatively low cost food. It was noted though that 53% of respondents always look for best price and switch brands based on offers. Consumer demand for low prices have put pressure on brands to offer promotions. Through 2017 and early 2018, all sales growth in the cheddar category came from promotion sales – multibuys and temporary price reductions. Nearly half of shoppers opted for “own brand” cheddar. 70% of respondents are not loyal to a brand and 4 in 10 don’t see any difference between brands.

There was a split between those who feel cheese is healthy (68%) and those who are concerned about the impact cheddar has on their health (22%) with younger respondents being more concerned than older respondents.The Insight report points to the need to communicate the positive health benefits to younger consumers; E.g. Cheese is low in sugar, high in protein, high in calcium, cheddar is sustaining (slow release energy), potentially good for gut health and delivers specific vitamins.

The format in which cheddar cheese is regularly purchased was as follows 8 in 10 buy blocks, with just over 2 in 5 (42%) opting for grated, and 41% buying sliced. Regular cheddar is the most preferred. Some 3 in 5 claim to be consuming cheddar themselves, with just over 4 in 10 (41%) claiming all members of their household consume.In households with children there is a greater prevalence of grated, sliced and kids cheese snacks being purchased. There was an even split between the preferred colours of cheddar, but the overall preference amongst buyers is for mature/extra mature strength cheddar cheese. Younger consumers (18-24) are more likely to prefer regular strength cheddar.

the cheese compassThe insight report points at ways businesses could increase sales of alternative cheeses to try to move consumers away from the €2 offering.

The Insight Report recommends the use of a cheese compass to better target offerings at specific consumers. Suggestions such as ensuring kids cheese snacks are not positioned next to unhealthy food choices, more persuasive shelf standouts for flavoured options, in general it found cheddar merchandising to be unimaginative and generally health focused. The report perceives potential in more adding more interesting flavours (e.g. Irish seaweed or wild Irish garlic), giving more focus to the story, and also in extending the use through recipe promotions, couplings and snacks. Promoting health benefits, snack opportunities and an environmental focus, e.g. green packaging solutions, are other routes to engage younger buyers.

Tastings offer a useful merchandising opportunity, the report notes that “68% of people in the UK say that they are more likely to buy a cheese that they have been able to sample” (Mintel, 2017)

Click here to see the original Bord Bia report


Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range of cheeses to the food industry. We are well known for our superb range of cheddar cheeses. Our Yellow Road cheese is the leading food service brand in Ireland and we are now able to supply dairy free solutions for cheese loving vegans.

Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

Dairy Market Update Q4 2019

Hello everyone and welcome to our latest update on the dairy industry. We hope all of our customers enjoyed a prosperous summer and everyone is rejuvenated after the holiday season! Activity has been relatively quiet regarding dairy pricing throughout the summer months with butter the only commodity to show major movement. Apart from that, cheese prices have been relatively stable which I hope is a positive for our customers who don’t have to deal with the turbulence of previous years.

dairy products
Dairy Market Prices
Potential US tariffs on European dairy
Potential US tariffs on European dairy
US tariffs: impact on Ireland
Trouble for Fonterra in NZ
Irish dairy sectory
Irish dairy sector’s contribution to the rural economy

The summer flush period has ended and we now look ahead to Q4. We have enjoyed one of the longest periods of stability in the dairy industry for some time and we hope the calm continues for a little longer. We appreciate the challenges a volatile market presents to our customers as many have agreed long term pricing with retail clients. The sustained period of price rises over the last few years was very difficult to comprehend but the tide has turned in recent times so hopefully this has offered our customers a secure footing. The next few months are difficult to predict due to the political uncertainty in the ongoing negotiations between the world’s second largest dairy importer the UK and EU. However, due to the high stakes, we hope sense will prevail and a favourable agreement is reached for both sides. If this occurs we should be looking at another period of stability due to healthy milk volumes and positive market conditions. In the event of the many scenarios that can happen you can rely on Ingredient Solutions to maintain consistency of supply due to the long standing relationships we have built with our suppliers. We hope we are continuing to live up to the high standard of service expected of us and wish you a successful Q4 as we look ahead to the looming festive season!

Yours Sincerely
Ian Galletly
Managing Director

Dairy Market Prices

dairy products Major cheese products such as Cheddar, Mozzarella, Edam, Gouda have remained pretty static in price over the summer. Milk volumes have been healthy across Europe and demand steady which has kept price movements to a minimum. However butter manufacturers have endured a more challenging time as butter prices slipped back to the €3300/ton mark.

In the last market update we reported on butter dropping from €4500/ton to €3800/ton. A further drop of €500/ton is significant and not many predicted such a sharp fall in price. However a bit of perspective is also required here as the abnormally high butter prices of the previous 2 years were unsustainable for many manufacturers reliant on butter.

Potential EU / US Tarriffs

There have been some rumblings between the US & EU regarding potential tariffs on European dairy. This is in part retaliation from the US against subsidies paid from the EU to French aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The much loved cheese products in the firing line from the US includes Stilton, Roquefort, Gouda and Edam.

The USTR (US Trade Representative) has estimated the EU subsidies figure at a whopping $11bn! The European Commission are not taking this ruling lying down and are challenging the figures presented by the US. The WTO (World Trade Organisation) are also analysing the figures and the ruling is subject to arbitration. The potential tariffs on European cheese could be as much as 100%. Of course European dairy is not the first foreign trade sector to be targeted by the US. However if these tariffs come into place many observers believe US consumers will choose alternative options as they will not be able to afford EU cheese products.

US tariffs: impact on Ireland

While we’re on the topic of EU/US dairy tariffs, Rabobank compiled a report on the potential impact and they concluded that Ireland would be the biggest losers in a trade war. In 2018 the US imported a total of 230,000 tons of EU dairy product and in contrast the EU only imported less than 23,000 tons of US dairy so the trade gap is clear. Ireland had the biggest share of exports at 25% followed by France at 21%, Italy 12% and Spain 8%.

Ireland has enjoyed great success in the US market in recent years with Kerrygold butter now the second highest selling brand in the whole country. Irish butter exports increased by 90% in 2018 alone and this is even more impressive in light of the fact that Irish butter sells at around double the price of domestic US brands. However if US tariffs are implemented at the mooted 100% figure this will double the price again and it is hard to see sales maintaining existing growth if priced at four times more than US brands! EU dairy commands a premium and is highly popular with consumers who view it as better quality but there is a limit to how much people will pay so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Trouble for the mighty Fonterra

There is trouble for the mighty Fonterra in New Zealand who are on the receiving end of angry shareholders after the company endured another difficult year. The company is forecast to report a second year of financial losses in a row as their international expansion plan has not enjoyed the expected success.

The company have been forced in to asset write-downs across the globe in countries such as Brazil, China and the cost of this is up to NZ$860m.

The company reported an annual loss of NZ$675m last year and the turmoil looks set to continue this year. This has caused a huge shock to the New Zealand government because dairy is hugely important to the entire economy as it accounts for 3.5% of annual GDP. Regional Development Economic Minister Shane Jones offered a damning indictment as he labelled Fonterra’s management team ‘grossly inept’. Pressure is mounting on the management team to turn the company’s fortunes around urgently at the world’s largest dairy company. Chief Executive Miles Hurrell has pledged a change of strategy as focus will move away from global expansion and instead turn to domestic milk production in NZ.

Irish dairy sector’s contribution to the rural economy

Research conducted by food economist Ciaran Fitzgerald has highlighted the importance of the Irish dairy sector in its contribution to the rural economy. The sector alone supports 60,000 jobs of which 19,000 are in dairy farming and the rest are in areas such as milk/dairy food processing, distribution, export marketing, and research. Ireland exports 90% of its output to 120 countries across the globe and the value of exports has doubled from €2bn to €4bn since 2015 when EU milk quotas were abolished.

Posted in Market Report ItemTagged

Cheese may offset blood vessel damage caused by salt

salt damage offset by cheeseResearch carried out in the University of Pennsylvania which indicated that damage caused by salt may be offset by a diet which contains cheese was published in August 2019.

The research was funded by the National Dairy Council and demonstrated that single-meal cheese consumption ameliorates acute, sodium-induced endothelial dysfunction.

The research team lead by Billie Alba found that adults consuming a high-sodium diet also experienced blood vessel dysfunction. however, the same adults did not experience that blood vessel dysfunction if they consumed four servings of cheese a day alongside the same high-sodium diet.

In an interview with Penn State News Billie Alba explained, “Consuming high amounts of sodium causes an increase in molecules that are harmful to blood vessel health and overall heart health… There is scientific evidence that dairy-based nutrients, specifically peptides generated during the digestion of dairy proteins, have beneficial antioxidant properties, meaning that they have the ability to scavenge these oxidant molecules and thereby protect against their damaging physiological effects.”

  • The original research can be downloaded from by clicking here.
  • A more indepth article about the research on the Penn State News Website can be viewed by clicking here.


Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range of speciality cheeses including Edam, Gouda, Emmental, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Provolone, Processed cheeses, Cream Cheese, Mascarpone, Cottage Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella Pearls and Ricotta, as well as classic Cheddar and Mozzarella to the food industry. We work in partnership with cheese suppliers, food manufacturers and food service suppliers to deliver winning solutions. Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

Viral Trends: What is Mukbang?

Mukbang is a new viral trend in social media and involves people shooting and posting videos of themselves eating.

Mukbang combines the Korean words for “eating” and “broadcast”. The trend first emerged in South Korea in 2014 and within year mukbang went from being a one person operation to a viral trend. There are over 1.6 million posts using the #mukbang hashtag on Instagram

The Grocer suggests that Food businesses could capitalise on the trend by sponsoring influencers to use their products in their social media posts and also by encouraging customers to make mukbang videos of themselves in order to get special offers on the products. There are some negative elements to using Mukbang in your marketing, for example it can be perceived to promote binge eating, so consideration needs to be given before embarking on a campaign. Read more about Mukbang in The Grocer

These are a few Mukbang posts from Instagram to give you a sense of the kind of material that is being produced.

Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range cheeses to the food industry. Our Yellow Road cheese is the leading food service brand in Ireland.

Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

The Healthfulness of Cheese – A Look at Recent Research

cheese is healthyThere have been a couple of articles ranking the healthiness of different cheeses over the past week. An article in the Washington Post on 2nd September lists what the journalist perceives to be the most healthful cheeses and the reasons for those choices.

The article examines the benefits of unripened cheeses – cottage cheese, ricotta and goats cheeses – which are generally low in fat. And it also looks at the benefits of hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan, which are higher in calcium and believed to be better for gut health. Blue cheeses are even higher in calcium, but are also higher in fat. The least healthy cheeses are listed as Brie and Camembert.

Last week a similar article on the Good Housekeeping website drew similar conclusions – it looked at the health benefits of soft unripened mozzarella, swiss cheese, parmesan, blue cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and goats cheese.

There’s some disagreement about whether low fat or regular cheese is more beneficial. The Washington post points to research on the benefit of full fat cheese on diabetes conducted in 2016. And it also references another study in the same year that indicated that full fat cheese actually helped reduce obesity in women

In addition, last month on this website, we looked at another piece of research that found that higher dairy intake actually reduced blood pressure in overweight middle-aged adults – you can read more about that research on our website by clicking here.

The article in good housekeeping gives some nice suggestions as to healthy accompaniments to serve with your cheeses and also some specific conditions that the various cheeses might be beneficial for. For example, did you know that cottage cheese contains selenium, a key antioxidant that helps to reduce risk of chronic inflammation?


You can see the original articles and research by clicking the links below: 

From feta to American slices, a ranking of cheeses by healthfulness – Washington Post 2nd Sept 2019

The Healthiest Cheeses You Can Buy, According to a Registered Dietitian – Good Housekeeping 28th August 2019

Effect of high compared with low dairy intake on blood pressure in overweight middle-aged adults: results of a randomized crossover intervention study

Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among Men and Women in the United States in Two Large Prospective Cohorts.

Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range of speciality cheeses including Edam, Gouda, Emmental, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Provolone, Processed cheeses, Cream Cheese, Mascarpone, Cottage Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella Pearls and Ricotta, as well as classic Cheddar and Mozzarella to the food industry. We work in partnership with cheese suppliers, food manufacturers and food service suppliers to deliver winning solutions. Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

Cheese is the most popular burger topping

brger toppingsIt’s national burger day in the UK so we had a look at some cheesy burger research and, as we thought, cheese is consistently the favourite burger topping. There’s been several polls all in agreement at the collective love of cheese on burgers.

In 2015 a YouGov / huffington post poll in the US found that 86% of respondents like cheese burgers and 71% of respondents actually prefered cheese burgers.

The burger topping research from 2017 displayed on the right shows that again cheese is the favourite topping with 64% of respondents declaring cheese to be their favourite burger topping.

In July 2018 YouGov / M&S research found that cheese was the favourite topping:

“Looking at toppings, cheese topped the list with 54% of respondents citing it as essential for a home cooked burger, followed by onion, at 47%, lettuce, at 35%, tomato, at 30%, bacon, at 30% and gherkin, at 16%. One in 25 of respondents also said they opted for avocado, with one in ten Londoners choosing it as their favourite topper.”

View detailed results from the 2015 poll in the US here:

More information about the M&S research can be viewed here:

Ingredient Solutions Ltd supply a wide range cheeses to the food industry. Our Yellow Road cheese is the leading food service brand in Ireland.

Get in touch with our team to order cheese ingredients for your food business.

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