Gen Z Seems To Be Into Cottage Cheese

Apparently it's not even an ironic interest, with recipes going viral and sales surging
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2023 1:50 PM CDT
Gen Z's New Love: Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese   (Getty Images / Kobeza)

For reasons that parents from older generations will likely be unable to comprehend, it appears that Gen Z is down with ... cottage cheese. The Wall Street Journal reports that people born between the late '90s and early '00s, as well as older millennials, have been "tossing tubs of their grandmother's favorite weight-management tool into their grocery carts." That's right, the uncured, soft cheese made from skim milk is luring a new generation, thanks in part to the power of social media, especially video-sharing site TikTok. The trend has been brewing a while: The New York Post reported in late April that the #cottagecheese hashtag had received 200 million views. When the Journal checked in, the same tag was up to 323 million views.

As far back as 2018, the New York Times was asking if America was ready to "love cottage cheese again." The somewhat delayed answer is definitely yes, and the dairy industry has taken note, with Cabot Creamery senior VP of marketing Sarah Healy telling the Journal that cottage cheese has "started to explode." The voluminous recipes on TikTok help prove the point. Her Campus asked a nutritionist about one that garnered viral interest when TikToker Tiffany Elizabeth shared the "cottage cheese and mustard diet." Mary Sabat tells the site that cottage cheese is a decent source of protein and calcium. Thus, "mustard and cottage cheese in a lunch can be a part of a healthy diet, depending on the overall composition of the meal and your individual dietary needs," she says.

Odd recipes aside, Eat This offers a further explanation of the upside to eating cottage cheese that falls in line with the reasons why older generations relied on it as a low-calorie staple. It's "high in protein, low in fat, and contains hearty doses of important vitamins and nutrients." Those vitamins and nutrients include B12, which has a wide range of benefits (particularly for vegetarians); B2, or riboflavin, which aids enzyme use in the body; and casein and whey proteins, which have long been staples in the diets of bodybuilders and pro athletes around the world.

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In April, MarketWatch published a press release on the future of cottage cheese indicating its popularity will "rise at a considerable rate during the forecast period, between 2022 and 2030," adding that "with the rising adoption of strategies by key players, the market is expected to rise over the projected horizon." US cottage cheese sales rose 15.9% between May 2022 and May 2023, per the Journal, and one company experienced a striking 50% market growth in one month between April and May this year. It's enough of a boost in adoption and overall popularity to make any mom or grandmother point to her small plate containing a burger patty and single cup-sized dollop of the lumpy stuff and say she told you so. (More diet stories.)

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