While many in dairy circles continue to lament spiraling fluid milk sales, we must all remember that consumers eat dairy products in different forms. When it comes to cheese, that consumption is at an all-time high.
In 2016, Americans consumed 36.6 pounds of cheese, on average. That means American consumers drank the equivalent of 366 pounds of fluid milk. That’s because it takes 100 pounds of milk, on average, to make 10 pounds of cheese. That 100 pounds of milk also yields 90 pounds of liquid that can be further refined to capture whey.
What are the most popular varieties?
Topping the list are Mozzarella and Cheddar. Of course, Mozzarella is a principle ingredient for pizza. Since 1996, Mozzarella sales have climbed from 8.2 to 11.7 pounds per person each year.
Mozzarella first overtook longtime leader, Cheddar, in 2003 for the top sales position. From that point until 2009, the two top cheese varieties switched back and forth on the leaderboard. Since 2010, Mozzarella has firmly held the top sales position.
Here are USDA’s estimates for the top cheese varieties in 2016, all on a per capita basis:
- Mozzarella, 11.7 pounds
- Cheddar, 10.4 pounds
- Other American cheese varieties, 3.9 pounds
- Other Italian cheese varieties, 3.5 pounds
- Cream and Neufchatel, 2.6 pounds
- Swiss, 1 pound
- Hispanic cheese, 0.76 pound
- Muenster, 0.52 pound
- Blue, 0.31 pound
- All other cheeses, 1.57 pounds