America’s Hunger for Cheese Continues to Grow

Fresh cheese curds are a staple for many cheese consumers. ( Farm Journal Media )

Despite their lack luster desire to drink fluid milk, American’s are craving more cheese and driving up domestic consumption. According to a recent RaboResearch article, per capita consumption of cheese grew from 14.3 lb. to 36.9 lb., a 22.6 lb. increase.

Demand for natural and Italian-style cheese, such as cheddar, colby, mozzarella and jack cheeses, has fueled this consumption growth. 

In 1995, American’s ate an average of 11.7 lb. of natural cheese and 10 pounds of Italian-style cheese annually. However, this number has grown to a 15 lb. average for both cheese categories, according to Dairy Foods.

Previously on the downward slope, processed cheese is also on the rise. Jumping from 3.53 lb. in 2010, American’s are now consuming approximately 5.2 lb. of processed cheese each year. 

USDA data reports that Americans only drank 149 lb. of milk per capita in 2017, down from 247 lbs. in 1975. According to RaboResearch, however, it takes 10 lb. of milk to produce one pound of cheese. As a result, the 98 lb. annual decrease in fluid milk consumption has been offset by the 226 lb. increase in milk used to manufacture cheese. 

For more on dairy consumption, read: