Gorgonzola fan or lover of Edam and Pecorino?
Cheese must be one of the best discoveries of humans besides breadmaking, wine, brewing beer and ales. Cheese, bread, wine and beer were made for each other and have become an important part of our daily eating and drinking lives.
Let’s take a look at the global cheese industry facts that are making waves in 2022.
- The global cheese market was valued at over $77.6 billion in 2021
- The global cheese market is forecast to reach over $113 billion by 2027
- Germany and the Netherlands are the top exporters of cheese worldwide
- Germany and the Netherlands exported over $4 billion worth of cheese in 2020/21
- Europe eats the most cheese per capita
- US and Canada are in second and third place for global cheese consumption
- The average European eats an average of 20.44 kilograms of cheese annually
- Globally, new cheese launches rose 11% in 2021
Cheese Industry Facts: How Cheese Is Made
To make cheese, milk is heated to high temperatures before substances like cultures and bacteria are added to impart the desired taste and make the end product durable. The curds are separated from the watery substance (called whey) and then heated to higher temperatures until it solidifies. The end product is a hard substance ready to eat or cook with.
Cheese takes up about one-tenth the volume of milk, making it portable with a longer shelf life compared to milk. It is rich in nutrients such as protein, essential minerals, fat, calcium, and more.
Here we will outline some global and regional cheese facts and statistics before looking at some fun facts.
Global Cheese Industry Statistics
According to a Statista report, the global cheese market was valued at over $77.6 billion in 2021 and is forecast to reach over $113 billion by 2027.
These cheese industry statistics show that Europe has the highest level of per capita cheese consumption. In 2021, people in the European Union ate on average an astounding 20.44 kilograms of cheese. US and Canada came in second and third in that year at about 17.9 and 15 kilograms of cheese per capita.
The Cheese Market In Europe
Europe is a major player in the global cheese industry. The 27 nations of the European Union produced about 10.35 million metric tons of cheese in 2021. As of 2020, Germany and the Netherlands were the top exporters of cheese worldwide, each exporting over $4 billion worth of cheese in that year.
Global Cheese Trends & Consumption
The US and the EU-27 were the top consumers of cheese worldwide. Per capita, cheese consumption in the US was about 40 pounds in 2020, up from 35 pounds in 2010. Grated cheese had the highest level of unit sales of any type of cheese in the US, commonly used in pizza, quesadillas, and macaroni and cheese.
The International Cheese Trade
The total export value of dairy products has risen over the last few years. Many of the top exporters of cheese worldwide are part of the European Union, as to be expected, given their cheese-making history.
In 2019, Germany was the number one exporter of cheese. The Netherlands, France, and Italy are all world-renowned for their cheese production and were also some of the top exporters of cheese in that year.
Impact Of The Pandemic On Cheese Trends
Lockdown policies around the world led to sudden changes throughout the milk and cheese supply chains as many consumers replaced dining out with at-home eating. Foodservice cheese sales dropped while retail sales surged. Consumers’ interest in home cooking, comfort foods, and snacking rose, while health (including healthy eating) became a new priority as consumers sought to protect themselves against COVID.
Consequently, cheese producers and retailers have found a variety of strategies to meet consumers’ new needs. They did this in a variety of ways.
Top 2021 Global Cheese Trends
Here’s a look at the top five global cheese trends for 2021:
- New Product Development: New product innovation was expected to be a major trend for the cheese industry in 2021. Mintel reports global new cheese launches rose 11% in 2021, with the US leading with 10% of new cheese launches, followed by France and Germany.
- Private Label: Economic uncertainty and the rise in unemployment have made many consumers more cost-conscious when shopping, including grocery shopping. These concerns boosted private label cheese sales as consumers sought out the best value for their money.
- Bringing Value to Home Cooks: The surge in home cooking (both as a hobby and an economic necessity) has generated a flurry of interest in recipes of all types, ranging from quick and easy to healthy and gourmet. The versatility of cheese in formats and flavours has made it a perfect fit for this trend.
Cheese Industry Facts: The Global Market
The Global cheese market is estimated to grow to $125.82 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 5.8%.
Processed cheeses such as Cheddar, Parmesan, and Romano have seen an increase in popularity in recent years due to factors such as the product’s longer shelf life, appealing flavour profile, and adaptability at a lower cost than other varieties of cheeses. One needs smaller amounts of cheese to get good and strong flavour with cheeses such as parmesan and pecorino. The bottom line is it’s economical.
In addition, the rise of private brands in developing nations, as well as demand for western cuisine, has bolstered the market for processed cheese. In addition, the online market for the buying of food items, including cheese, has grown rapidly in the previous 3-4 years as internet access has increased.
Changing lifestyles, such as an increased reliance on ready-made or ready-to-eat meals due to the busier schedules of Millennials and an increase in global demand for packaged goods, have increased demand for fast food products, which has fuelled demand for cheese.
Cheese Statistics Highlight The Biggest Market
The European cheese market is the world’s largest, and despite extremely high per capita consumption, market growth has remained consistent.
Who Eats The Most Cheese Worldwide?
Surprisingly, the top cheese consumer is Denmark. The country consumes 28.1 kilograms of cheese consumption per capita. The second highest consumer is Iceland followed by Finland at 27.7 kilograms and 27.3 kilograms of cheese consumption per capita respectively.
France follows closely at 27.2 kilograms of cheese per capita. Of Interest, the tiny country of Cyprus takes fifth place which consumes 26.7 kilograms of cheese consumption per capita.
Other Top Cheese Consuming Countries
Other interesting cheese industry facts show that cheese is also a major product in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The average per capita consumption of cheese in Germany is 24.7 kilograms per capita while Switzerland and Netherlands consume 22.2 and 21.6 kilos per capita respectively. Italy is the ninth highest consumer of cheese at 21.5 kg per capita followed closely by Austria at 21.1 kg per capita.
Many different types of cheese are named after or associated with the place they were first made. Parmesan cheese, for example, originates from the area around Parma, Italy. Gouda was first traded in the Dutch town of Gouda. And cheddar cheese originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset. An American favourite, Colby, originated in Colby, Wisconsin.
Fun Cheese Industry Facts
There are a few considerations regarding cheese which are interesting and bear no relation to boring statistics.
- Age: Fresh cheese is intended to be eaten right away while other cheeses may be aged from a few months to a few years or more.
- Texture: Cheese is often categorised by its texture, from soft to semi-soft and semi-firm to hard. Generally, the longer a cheese is aged, the lower its moisture content and the harder it becomes.
- Flavour: Cheese is often described as having flavours that run from mild to extra sharp. Mild cheeses tend to be younger cheeses, while stronger flavoured cheeses tend to be aged cheeses or cheeses with mould or bacteria cultures added during the cheesemaking process.
- Preparation: Many young kinds of cheese are unripened, meaning they have no additional added cultures or additives. Mould-ripened cheese like blue cheese or washed-rind cheeses such as Limburger has different mould or bacteria cultures introduced which helps develop stronger flavours. Pasta filata cheeses are stretched during the cheesemaking process to produce a stringy, chewy texture such as mozzarella.
Talking of mozzarella, what foods and victuals go well with cheese?
According to Australian chef and author of Milk, Nick Haddow, red wine with cheese is overrated and he avoids it. The best pairings come from cider and beer, particularly porters and ales. Whiskey is surprisingly good with smoked cheeses too.
Pour a glass of your best tipple and cut into a good Gouda with a cracker or two. Pure heaven!