Annual Consumption Of U.S. Cheese Hits An All-Time High
U.S. per capita cheese consumption reached an all-time high in 2022 at nearly 42 pounds per person, a half-a-pound per-person increase over the previous year, according to annual data on per capita dairy consumption released yesterday by USDA’s Economic Research Service. Per capita consumption of all dairy products was 653 pounds on a milkfat basis and 513 pounds on a skim-solids basis, down from last year but well above the historical average dating back to 1975 when USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption. Ice cream consumption in 2022, at nearly 19 pounds per capita, also edged out the previous year, while other dairy products including yogurt and butter, though down from 2021, remained consistent with recent-year highs.
Cheese Consumption And Dairy’s Role In American Diets
“Americans are turning to dairy like never before as part of their health regimen, to celebrate with family and friends, or to liven up their meal and snacking routines. The data from USDA demonstrate how consumers continue to choose dairy products even as they exercise cost-conscious shopping, illustrating how dairy remains affordable and accessible to all people,” notes the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). “Dairy is more than a food or beverage — it has become an essential part of our lives, in more than 95% of U.S. households on any given day. The growth in dairy consumption is a testament to America’s dairy foods makers who offer wholesome, delicious, affordable products for people all ages, all year around.”
Declining Milk Consumption Vs. Rising Cheese Trends
Consistent with the long-term trend, per capita milk consumption continued to decline in 2022, falling to 130 pounds (milk-content weight), down from 134 pounds in 2021. Fluid milk consumption has not increased since 1985, and has declined 171 pounds per capita since first recorded as 247 pounds in 1975.
Ice Cream And Other Dairy Products: A Closer Look
Regular ice cream consumption totaled 12.7 pounds per person in 2022, up from 12.2 pounds in 2021. Lowfat and nonfat ice cream consumption per person in 2022 totaled 6.2 pounds, down from 6.6 pounds in 2021. Frozen yogurt consumption was up slightly from 0.8 pounds in 2021 to 0.9 pounds per person in 2022. Per capita consumption of yogurt (other than frozen) totaled 13.9 pounds in 2022, down from 14.3 pounds in 2021 but up from the previous several years.
Cheese Consumption And Butter Trends
Per capita consumption of all dry products (dry whole milk, nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder, dry buttermilk and dry whey/whey protein concentrate) totaled 4.0 pounds per capita in 2022, slightly down from 2021. Butter consumption has remained at or above 6.0 pounds per person since 2018, but 2022 per capita butter consumption fell 0.4 pounds from the record 6.4 pounds set in 2021. American-type cheese consumption remained tied with the previous year’s record at 16.2 pounds per person, while other-than-American cheese consumption rose from 23.1 pounds in 2021 to 23.6 pounds in 2022. Cottage cheese consumption remained at 1.9 pounds per person.
Rising Dairy Consumption: A Decade In Review
IDFA notes that in the past decade alone, domestic per capita consumption of cheese is up 17.1% and per capita butter consumption is up 9.0%. Overall, USDA data show American dairy per capita consumption across products consistently increasing each year, with 2022 up 0.4% over the past five years, 7.5% over the past 15 years and 16.1% over the past 30 years.
Dairy Evolution: Meeting American Tastes
“If it’s made with dairy and it can fit on a plate, in a bowl or in your favorite mug, chances are Americans are loving it more than ever before,” IDFA says. “Today’s dairy is different because dairy is always evolving to give Americans what they crave.”
To view the latest and historical per capita dairy consumption data, visit www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/dairy-data/.
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Source: Cheese Market News