Dec. 5 2023 08:12 AM

    USDA Report: Americans are consuming record amounts of cheese, contributing to one of the strongest years on record for U.S. dairy consumption

    The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard's Dairyman.

    Call it grate! Call it legend-dairy. Say it’s whey up! That’s because Americans are writing a new chapter in their love affair with dairy products, according to fresh data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which reports per capita consumption of all dairy products reached 653 pounds per person in 2022, 63 pounds above the historical average dating back to 1975 when USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption. Cheese consumption set an all-time high in 2022 to reach nearly 42 pounds per person, a half-a-pound per-person increase over the previous year. For comparison, the average American consumed 32.2 pounds of cheese in 2000 and 21.9 pounds in 1980. Ice cream consumption in 2022 also edged out the previous year, while other dairy products including yogurt and butter remained consistent with recent year highs.

    “Americans are turning to dairy like never before as part of their health regimen, to celebrate with family and friends, or to liven up their meal and snacking routines. The data from USDA demonstrate how consumers continue to choose dairy products even as they exercise cost-conscious shopping, illustrating how dairy remains affordable and accessible to all people. Dairy is more than a food or beverage—it has become an essential part of our lives, in more than 95% of U.S. households on any given day. The growth in dairy consumption is a testament to America’s dairy foods makers who offer wholesome, delicious, affordable products for people all ages, all year around.”

    In the past decade alone, domestic per capita consumption of cheese is up 17.1% and per capita butter consumption is up 9.0%. Overall, USDA data show American dairy per capita consumption across products consistently increasing each year, with 2022 up 0.4% over the past five years, 7.5% over the past 15 years, and 16.1% over the past 30 years.

    “If it’s made with dairy and it can fit on a plate, in a bowl, or in your favorite mug, chances are Americans are loving it more than ever before. Today’s dairy is different because dairy is always evolving to give Americans what they crave.”

    Overall dairy consumption in 2022 was the second highest total on record. Additional charts are available here to illustrate the consistent growth in per capita consumption of dairy products.