U.S. Dairy Products > Cheese
Why U.S. Cheese
World's Largest Cheese Producer
Almost a quarter of the world's cheese - over 5.5 million metric tons in 2016 - is manufactured in the United States, and production continues to grow. With the largest cow's milk supply in the world, an abundance of land and investments in research and technology, the U.S. cheese industry is capable of unrestrained growth to meet customer demand.
Year-round cow's milk production guarantees product availability at any time of the year. With its state-of-the-art production facilities, the U.S. cheese industry has increased production by more than 1.4 million metric tons over the past decade. Customers have come to rely on this consistent supply of high-quality cheeses.
Worldwide Cheese Exporter
Because of the excellent value offered by the U.S. dairy industry, cheese exports have skyrocketed from just over 12 thousand metric tons in 1991, to over 287 thousand metric tons in 2016, making the United States the world's second largest cheese exporter. Since 2006, sales of U.S. cheese to international customers have grown more than 300%.
The U.S. cheese industry is equipped for today's fast-paced business, focused on the future and willing to serve overseas customers as their partner in trade.
Award-winning Cheese Production
U.S. cheese makers are proudly competing alongside their European counterparts in globally recognized cheese competitions and are consistently winning top honors.
They won 247 medals at the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest, accounting for nearly 75% of the total medal count.
Innovations in Research and Technology
The U.S. cheese industry is well recognized for its advancements in cheese making research and technology. One example is the invention of IQF, or Individually Quick Frozen, mozzarella which locks in the freshness of the cheese and stops the aging process, providing foodservice and industrial users with a consistent, high-quality product.
Our industry is currently actively exploring innovative techniques to create reduced-sodium cheeses that meet high standards for taste, texture, moisture content and overall food safety. And these are just to name a few examples!
High Quality Standards
The United States has a long and enviable history of manufacturing safe cheese and dairy products. This is a responsibility U.S. dairy farmers, dairy processors, as well as processing equipment manufacturers and ingredient suppliers working together with state and federal regulatory agencies have taken very seriously. The U.S. dairy industry is a highly regulated industry with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensuring that U.S. cheeses meet some of the highest sanitation and quality standards in the world.
U.S. Natural Cheese Production by Major Type (metric tons)
|Other American Cheese||345,697||478,245||557,934||603,949|
|Cream Cheese and Neufchatel||324,224||337,864||382,048||412,297|
|Total Natural Cheese||4,152,067||4,739,055||5,035,442||5,514,639|
Source: USDA, NASS
U.S. Processed Cheese Production by Major Type (metric tons)
|Processed Cheese Foods & Spreads||447,482||419,603||373,149||297,101|
|Cold Pack Cheese & Cheese Foods||17,468||17,446||19,689||13,889|
|Total Processed Cheese||1,029,428||957,153||937,534||1,050,709|
Source: USDA, NASS