Last year during the pandemic our pantries expanded with all sorts of things to help us make loaves of sourdough bread, banana bread, and of course chocolate chip cookies. You might think — given these popularity of these three baked goods in particular — that the baking ingredients that saw the highest increase in demand were things like flour and hard-to-find yeast, but for King Arthur Baking Company, it was something much more surprising: King Arthur Better Cheddar Cheese Powder.
In a recent trend report for 2020, the company said they saw almost five times the traffic they normally do in a year for their sourdough bread recipe, and that they sold 156 million pounds of flour — which was nearly 60% up from 2019. But it was the cheese powder that saw the most fascinating growth. King Arthur Baking Company said it was the “the biggest breakout ingredient” with an increase in sales of 152% year over year.
Running at $10.95 for an 8-ounce container, the company recommends sprinkling it on popcorn or baked potatoes, but it also transforms into a cheese sauce, making an impressive boxed-style mac and cheese. The company didn’t offer its thoughts on what drove the cheese powder demand, but perhaps the rush was driven by King Arthur’s own recipes, which have become favorites among pandemic bakers. The site includes it as an ingredient in recipes like No-Fuss Focaccia, Savory Cheddar-Parmesan Waffles, and Vermont Cheese Crackers.
While banana bread and sourdough were the talk of the internet in the early days of the pandemic — and King Arthur’s data shows that, too — perhaps in year two of staying safe at home, we’re diving into the niche cheesy baked goods.