Ranked: World’s High Cheese-producing Nations per Capita

What nation instantly involves thoughts while you consider cheese? Is it France or maybe Italy, provided that they use huge portions of cheese for all that scrumptious pasta and pizza? Or is it the Netherlands? What about america? 

The US is the world’s largest producer of cheese, adopted by Germany, France, and Italy. However in relation to the best cheese manufacturing per capita, do these 4 nations nonetheless high the charts?

We did the analysis and the maths to see what comes up. You is likely to be stunned by a few of the outcomes. 

And since the US is in a league of its personal in relation to cheese manufacturing, we thought we’d additionally have a look at US states as in the event that they had been separate nations, and ran the numbers once more, with stunning outcomes. Hold studying to study all of those findings, and extra! 

Denmark, New Zealand, and Eire are the world’s high cheese producers per capita 

We first checked out every nation’s complete yearly cheese manufacturing and correlated that with the dimensions of every nation’s inhabitants to see how a lot cheese is produced per individual. With simply a few exceptions, the cheese manufacturing volumes are for the 12 months of 2021.

Rating all of the nations on our record when it comes to complete yearly cheese manufacturing per capita, we find yourself with an attention-grabbing record, led by Denmark, which produces a complete of 455 thousand metric tones of cheese per 12 months. That’s fairly spectacular, and the equal of 78 kilograms or 171.9 kilos of cheese per individual, which locations it on the very high of our rating.

On condition that roughly 61% of Denmark is agricultural land, it’s not stunning to study that the Danes export 75% of the meals they produce, together with cheese. The nation is likely one of the high milk producers in Europe, and half of that milk is used to make cheese, which is then largely exported to round 150 nations. 

Denmark can also be the only producer of Danablu (or Danish Blue Cheese), Danbo cheese, and Esrom cheese – these varieties have been PGI-marked by the EU, which implies they’ve been granted protected geographical standing and might’t be produced wherever else. 

New Zealand is the world’s second producer of cheese per capita, with 390 thousand metric tones of cheese produced yearly – the equal of 76.1 kilograms per individual (167.9 kilos per individual).

There may be ever-increasing demand for New Zealand cheeses reminiscent of Mahoe Farmhouse, Mercer, Karikaas, and Meyer. And it’s all within the high quality. New Zealand is famend for its pasture-based dairies and the contemporary, clear taste of its cheese. Manufacturing and exports of cheese rose sharply within the 90s, in addition to the primary a part of the 2010s, although it slowed down a bit prior to now few years from its 2017 peak.

Coming in at quantity three on the record is surprisingly Eire, which produces 287 thousand metric tones of cheese yearly and has a inhabitants of roughly 5 million. That quantities to 56.7 kilograms of cheese produced per capita or roughly 125 kilos per individual.

Cheese manufacturing in Eire has elevated at a staggering price lately. For the previous 5 years, Eire has recorded the second highest cheese manufacturing progress price within the European Union, up 39%, solely second to Cyprus. That is nearly 5 instances larger than the expansion price for the EU as an entire.

Following at quantity 4 is the Netherlands, producing 54.2 kilograms of cheese per individual. The Netherlands is famend for a lot of issues, and its cheese is actually certainly one of them. Nearly each city or village has no less than one farm that produces a number of sorts of cheese.

House to the scrumptious and well-known Halloumi, the island nation of Cyprus has seen its cheese manufacturing skyrocket over the previous few years. Within the final 5, it rose by 41%, the best enhance recorded amongst European Union nations. Cyprus ranks fifth worldwide with 42 kilograms of cheese produced per individual.

Rating sixth on the planet with 38.4 kilograms per individual, Belarus’ rating may appear stunning. However the nation produces probably the most milk per capita on the planet and it’s one of many world’s main cheese exporters (most goes to neighboring Russia).

Whereas Estonia doesn’t have such an extended cheese-making custom, this small Baltic nation has made up misplaced floor and is now among the many high nations for cheese manufacturing per capita. Over the previous 10 years (2021-2021), cheese manufacturing in Estonia elevated by 16.5%, in response to Eurostat knowledge.

Lithuania, which ranks eighth worldwide for cheese manufacturing per capita, has a really robust cheese manufacturing custom. Farmers in Lithuania have been fermenting onerous cheese because the sixteenth century within the Samogitia area. The cheese was named Lithuanian cheese, and it turned well-liked all through the area, with manufacturing spreading to close by areas and nations (e.g. Belarus). 

Whereas its cheeses don’t have the worldwide recognition of France or Italy, Germany is hands-down Europe’s largest producer of cheese and ranks second worldwide, behind america. It ranks ninth within the per capita rankings with 28.4 kilograms per capita of cheese produced every year.

The hole between Germany and France, Europe’s second largest cheese-producing nation, has grown prior to now decade. Whereas in 2010, Germany’s cheese manufacturing was solely by 8.8% bigger than France’s, in 2021 it grew to over 1 / 4, 27.2% to be extra exact. France, one of many greatest producers, and shoppers, of cheese on the planet, is available in at quantity 11 with 27.4 kilograms of cheese produced per capita.

Latvia, one other Baltic nation that ranks within the high 10, produces 27.7 kilograms of cheese per individual, greater than nations with a really robust cheese making custom reminiscent of France, Switzerland and Austria.

Poland, rating twelfth worldwide, deserves a particular recognition as cheese manufacturing within the nation has skyrocketed during the last decade. In absolute phrases over the previous ten years, Poland recorded the second quickest cheese manufacturing progress within the European Union, barely behind Germany.

Based on Eurostat knowledge, Poland produced 675 thousand of metric tones of cheese in 2011, whereas in 2021 it produced over 919 thousand of metric tones. That’s a rise of 244 thousand of metric tones. Examine that to 249 (1000s) of metric tones for Germany, which ranked first and 241 (1000s) of metric tones for Spain, which ranked third. Different nations reminiscent of France recorded a lower in cheese manufacturing over the identical time period.

Switzerland lands at #14 with 23.7 kilograms of cheese per capita, whereas Italy is #15 on the record, with 23.3 kilograms of cheese produced per individual. The US takes seventeenth place in our rating, producing 18.7 kilograms of cheese per individual or 41.6 kilos per individual, whereas Uruguay ranks twentieth on the planet and second within the Americas.

However let’s take a unique have a look at this for a second. 

US, Germany, and France lead when it comes to complete cheese manufacturing

Whereas Denmark, New Zealand, and Eire produce probably the most cheese per individual, taking a look at absolute numbers, the rating shifts significantly. If we had been to rank nations in response to complete yearly cheese manufacturing, the US lands the highest spot, with 6,217 thousand metric tones of cheese produced in a 12 months. 

Germany is second, churning out 2,361 thousand metric tones of cheese every year, whereas France follows in third place, with 1,856 thousand metric tones. 

Closing the highest 5 is Italy, which produces 1,374 thousand metric tones of cheese per 12 months. absolute numbers, Denmark now not tops the record, however comes 14th, with 455 thousand metric tones of cheese produced every year. 

Rating US states as nations, Wisconsin would high the record 

The US is in a league of its personal in relation to cheese manufacturing, however the US can also be considerably bigger (in each sheer dimension and inhabitants) in comparison with most different high cheese-producing nations. So, evaluating cheese manufacturing within the US with small European nations reminiscent of Cyprus or Estonia isn’t actually honest; it’s like evaluating apples to oranges.

So, what if we had been to rank particular person US states as nations? What would that rating seem like? Effectively, let’s discover out. 

In case you didn’t already know that Wisconsin is the official cheese capital of the world, properly, our numbers verify it. Wisconsin tops the record – by a landslide. This Midwestern state produces 3,467 million kilos of cheese every year (roughly 1573 thousand of metric tones), which quantities to 588.3 kilos per capita.

Wisconsin has roughly the identical inhabitants as Denmark (5.8 million), the nation that tops that world cheese manufacturing per capita chart, however Wisconsin produces greater than 3 times as a lot cheese. What’s extra, Wisconsin ranks fourth on the planet when it comes to complete cheese manufacturing. 

Wisconsin produces roughly 26% of the nation’s cheese, and has near 1,300 licensed cheesemakers, greater than some other US state. It additionally has the one cheesemaster program outdoors of Europe, and is the one US state that requires a license to supply cheese. 48% of all of the specialty cheese within the US comes from Wisconsin, so it’s secure to say that, in case you’re a fan of cheese, or an aspiring cheesemaker, this is the place to be. 

Idaho comes at #2 on this rating, with 526.8 kilos of cheese produced per capita. The state produces roughly a million kilos of cheese yearly, and is in excessive demand for cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and Colby Jack, amongst others. It’s additionally one of many nation’s high milk and potato producers, and is residence to the biggest state-of-the-art yogurt plant on the planet. 

At quantity three is New Mexico, which churns out 956 million kilos of cheese every year and 452.4 kilos per capita, adopted by Vermont at #4, with 222 kilos of cheese produced yearly per capita. 

California, the second-largest cheese producer within the US after Wisconsin, lands between Germany and France when it comes to manufacturing per capita. The Golden State produces 2.4 million kilos of cheese yearly, which makes 62.1 kilos per individual.

Traits in cheese manufacturing within the European Union

Whereas not a rustic, the European Union is the biggest producer of cheese on the planet, even trumping america. We needed to zoom in and see how Europe’s dairy trade has developed prior to now few years. So, we crunched the numbers to see which EU nations recorded probably the most progress in cheese manufacturing from 2016 by way of 2021, and which nations noticed a drop in manufacturing. 

The outcomes had been attention-grabbing, to say the least. Because it seems, Cyprus recorded an uptick of 41% in cheese manufacturing from 2016 to 2021, placing it on the very high of our record. However what’s so particular about Cypriot cheese? 

You would possibly already be accustomed to Halloumi, a conventional Cypriot semi-hard pasteurized cheese that’s mostly related to the Mediterranean nation. What you won’t know is that, in 2021, Halloumi was granted particular standing by the EU, which ensures that solely Cypriot-made Halloumi (generally known as hellim in Turkish) may be marketed overseas beneath this title. 

The world appears to like Halloumi, as exports of this scrumptious cheese jumped 43% from 2017 to 2019 to 33,672 tons. Germany, Greece, Sweden, and the UK are reportedly the largest followers. 

Eire’s dairy trade can also be booming, recording a 39% progress in cheese manufacturing from 2016 to 2021, our evaluation reveals. Irish farmhouse cheese is extremely well-liked, and there are presently 45 farmhouse cheesemakers throughout the nation. Farmhouse cheese is mainly produced from the milk produced on the identical farm the place the cheese is made. 

Curiously, cheese manufacturing in France dwindled 3% from 2016 to 2021, going from 1,919 thousand metric tones in 2016 to 1,856 in 2021. France produces greater than 400 styles of cheese, and it’s thought-about one of many ‘cheese capitals of the world’. Nonetheless, Eurostat knowledge reveals that manufacturing has steadily decreased through the years from 2014. 

This phenomenon is partly as a result of scorching temperatures and drought skilled throughout the nation every summer season. Actually, the summer season of 2022 marked the primary time in historical past that the manufacturing of Salers cheese got here to an entire halt attributable to a extreme drought attributable to excessive warmth waves. Salers is a French semi-hard cheese that’s been produced within the Auvergne area of central France since historic instances. 

Cheese manufacturing additionally slowed in Sweden, Albania, and Croatia from 2016 to 2021. On the opposite finish of the spectrum, Latvia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary recorded vital progress in cheese manufacturing of 20% or extra. 


Our crew has relied on the next sources for compiling these stats: Eurostat, USDA, Statista, Index Mundi, Dairy Australia, Clal.it and Dairy Industries Journal. With the exceptions of Greece (2020) and North Macedonia (2016), all cheese manufacturing volumes are for the 12 months of 2021.

For inhabitants stats we relied on the newest official figures printed by Eurostat, UK’s Workplace for Nationwide Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau and the World Financial institution database.