U.S. cheese consumption posted another new record. In 2019, every American, on average, consumed 38.3 pounds of cheese.
Mozzarella, the prized topping for pizza pies, led the cheese brigade, moving from 12.21 to 12.48 pounds in the most recent year. That was tops among all varieties of cheese. Cheddar, the second-place variety, actually slid from 10.27 to 10.09 pounds from 2018 to 2019.
The cheese trajectory
U.S. consumers are now eating nearly 10 more pounds of cheese when compared to just 20 years ago. Back in 1999, total natural cheese consumption stood at 28.9 pounds. Fast-forward two decades, and that total climbed to 38.3 pounds, according to statistics compiled by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and Economic Research Service (ERS).
That means Americans are drinking another 100 pounds of milk since, on average, it takes 100 pounds of milk to make 10 pounds of cheese.
Top cheese varieties
Here are USDA’s estimates for the top cheese varieties at three checkpoints in time, all on a per capita basis:
How much more upside?
Can U.S. cheese consumption keep growing?
That was a question discussed at length during a DairyLivestream broadcast, “Checkoff check-in.”
“I think you have to take a look at a few other countries like France, Germany, Greece, or a number of other countries that have greater per capita consumption of cheese than we do,” said Mark Stephenson during the webcast. “In some of those countries, we’re talking about closer to 50 pounds of consumption per capita,” he continued, as detailed in the item “We’re riding the cheese horse.”