By tapping into “superconsumers,” U.S. retailers could grow cheese sales by $2.3 billion.

That’s the conclusion of a new study commissioned by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) and conducted by the Cambridge Group, one in a series on superconsumers released in July targeting different perimeter-store departments.

Across all categories, superconsumers — consumers who are both heavy users of a product and “highly involved” in their purchase of it — make up about 10 percent of all consumers but account for 30 to 70 percent of sales.

Cheese superconsumers, according to IDDBA, make up 10% of all cheese consumers and account for 23 percent of category sales. By tapping into this group to convert more consumers to superconsumer status, retail cheese sales could grow $2.3 billion, according to the study.

Retail cheese sales totaled $18.4 billion in 2016, down from $18.5 billion in 2015 but up from $17.3 billion in 2013, according to IDDBA.

Cheese superconsumers spend $351 annually on cheese, $198 more than typical consumers. They buy 10 different subcategories of cheese, three more than the average consumer does. And they buy cheese from four different stores, one above average.

Cheese superconsumers are more likely than average consumers to buy their cheese at premier retailers. Supers account for 31 percent of all cheese sales in the premiere channel.  

The study divides cheese superconsumers into two categories: convenience and exploration.

Convenience superconsumers spend two to three times more than normal consumers on chilled dairy and other convenience cheeses.

Exploration superconsumers spend five to six times more than the average shopper on deli and other exploration cheeses. Exploration superconsumers spend an average of $68 annually on grated and shredded cheese, $29 on cheddar, $24 on cream and $10 each on American and Mozzarella.