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Cheese Production

For the twenty-first straight year, total U.S. production of natural cheese set a record level in 2013. In addition, all three major cheese type categories (American, Italian and other) posted record production levels.

  • Total U.S. natural cheese production reached a record 11.1 billion pounds in 2013, the fifth straight year of more than 10 billion pounds and nearly 2 percent higher than the prior year.
  • The major cheese category with the largest share of natural cheese production was Italian style cheeses at over 4.7 billion pounds, up 2.2 percent from 2012. Within this category, mozzarella and similar cheese production was by far the largest at 3.7 billion pounds, an increase of 2.3 percent over last year. Among other Italian style cheese, the largest increase was seen in parmesan and similar cheese production, up 22.7 million pounds to 319.7 million pounds.
  • Overall, American style cheese production grew by 1.5 percent in 2013 compared to 2013. Cheddar cheese production accounts for the largest production in this category, and at 3.19 billion pounds for 2013 increased 45.8 million pounds from 2012.
  • As for other types of cheese, new record levels of production were set for muenster, blue and gorgonzola, gouda, cream and Neufchatel, and Hispanic style cheeses.
  • Total U.S. production of processed cheese, cheese foods and spreads, and cold pack cheeses declined for the third straight year to 2.07 billion pounds in 2013. This was the lowest production level since 1989.
  • With so few states having 3 or more plants producing any one style or type of cheese, for confidentiality reasons USDA is no longer able to publish state level data for most U.S. states.



Updated February 2015