The USA Cheese Guild, an advocate for American dairy farmers and the US cheese community, plays a vital role in raising global awareness of the exceptional cheeses originating from the USA. Recent endeavors by the guild have been aimed at informing chefs, importers and consumers about the artistry, quality, innovation, diversity and versatility showcased by USA cheeses. These initiatives have significantly increased awareness across international markets, spotlighting the assortment of high-quality and diverse cheese varieties produced in the USA.
The United States holds the distinction of being the world’s largest milk producer, achieved through the unwavering commitment of its 31,000 dairy farmers, who consistently adopt sustainable practices to ensure year-round production of premium-quality milk. This dedication extends to the production of cheese, positioning the USA as the foremost global cheese producer.
According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s latest trends report, the year 2022 witnessed the production of over 102 million tons of milk, 16 percent of which have been exported in the form of cheese and other dairy components. The national cheese output reached 6.3 million metric tons in the previous year, surpassing the combined output of the top three European Union producers (Germany, France, and Italy) by 18 percent. Among the varied cheese productions, mozzarella claimed the top spot, accounting for 34 percent of the entire U.S. cheese production, closely followed by cheddar, at 29 percent.
The report also underscored a remarkable achievement in North America; dairy farmers managed to increase milk production while concurrently reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 20 percent and absolute emissions by 0.5 percent. However, Russia, Europe, Central and South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa experienced an increase in absolute emissions over the last decade.
In the global export arena, the U.S. emerges as the paramount cheese exporter. Among the cheeses manufactured domestically, a substantial 451,370 metric tons were exported last year, equivalent to 6.5 percent of the total U.S. cheese output. This substantial figure represents an impressive 845 percent growth from export levels in 2000. The primary cheeses in demand across international borders were mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese. Mexico and North Asia prominently lead the cheese export landscape, accounting for 58 percent or 261,712 metric tons of these exports.
According to Ryan Hopkin of the USA Cheese Guild, “Cheeses produced in the United States are recognized as some of the best in the world. In 2022, cheeses produced in the United States secured 134 medals at the World Cheese Awards, including four super gold medals, and an additional 70 medals at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards.”