Per capita consumption of cheese made from cow’s milk rose in 2015, adding to strong growth from 2014, according to new U.S. Department of Agriculture data. On average, Americans consumed roughly 35 lb. of cheese in 2015. The two most common cheeses, cheddar and mozzarella, accounted for 61% of consumption.
USDA reported that consumption of cheddar, which totaled about 10 lb. per person in 2015, increased just more than 3%. Consumption of mozzarella grew at about 1%. Other cheeses — such as cream cheese, Swiss and Hispanic cheeses — collectively grew the fastest, at nearly 4%. Taken together, the growth in U.S. per capita consumption was the highest since 1999, at almost 3%.
“Relatively strong economic growth in the United States helped increase its domestic cheese consumption,” USDA noted. As a comparison, during the recession, per capita consumption shrank in 2008 and grew minimally in 2009.
Relatively low prices likely also encouraged cheese consumption.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail cheese prices fell by 0.2% in 2015.