Hold on to your curdles of milk, cheese fans, the latest report from the field is that pepper jack, the spicy subordinate of Monterey Jack, is the hottest new menu trend in consumer grub consumption.
A recent USA Today article says that Datassential, a restaurant market-research firm, reports that the cheese is crazy-popular with Millennials (Gen Y-ers!) and that, in the fast-food arena, sandwiches with pepper jack cheese have jumped more than 37% over the past four years, burgers have grown more than 56%, and the spicy cheese has appeared in nearly 50 new consumer products over the past two years.
"It's one of the fastest-growing cheeses we've ever seen," Steve Evans, marketing vice president of Blimpie, told USA Today. "They [Millennials] tend to be more adventurous with what they put on a sandwich."
Evans went on to tell USA Today that since Blimpie's pepper jack cheese promotion started last month, sales of the cheese have doubled.
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In addition to Blimpie's, companies putting out the pepper jack include Carl's Jr., Kraft, Blue Diamond snacks, and Kellogg's (Pepper Jack Cheez-Its!)
Brad Haley, marketing chief of Carl's Jr., told USA Today that items with pepper jack cheese have nearly tripled over the past five years and that currently, four menu items feature it, including the new Southwest Patty Melt, the 890 calorie gut-buster ironically hawked by Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Kate Upton.
What do you say, cheese lovers? Does pepper jack have a spicy place in your heart, or are you hoping for the day folks scream for Jarlsberg?