Cheese is a globally beloved food that can come in many shapes, textures, and flavors. It can be used as a key ingredient to amp up a dish or paired with wine for an ideal appetizer. Currently in the U.S. we are beginning to experience a “cheese glut.” The name may not sound too distressing for the avid cheese consumer. However, American dairy farmers may be in for a rough year.
Back in 2013 and 2014, as the economy recovered, dairy farmers across the nation expanded their farms when milk prices rose and demand was high for export across seas. Many farmers did this by increasing their cattle amount and building additional barns to take advantage of the foreign appetite.
Since their major expansions, the U.S. dollar has become stronger causing foreign buyers to reduce their dairy imports due to the increase in price. Similar to how you don’t have the grocery budget in college to be dropping major dime at Whole Foods every week.
Yet, the cows still need to be milked and it all has to go somewhere. In 2015, the most milk in history was produced, a total of 212.4 billion pounds. From the record-breaking milk production, 11.8 billion pounds of it will be turned into cheese. Now that’s a lot of cheddar.
As U.S. cheese-makers are unable to export this ridiculous amount, products are being stored away as they await to be sold. As of April, a total of 1.2 billion pounds of cheese are being commercially stored, up 11% within the last year.
Other food industries are beginning to follow with a surplus in product including soybeans, meat, poultry, and grains. Meat production increases since cattle are able to grow to larger weights as they eat more of the now cheaply priced grains. It’s a vicious cycle, friends.
On average, an American eats about 36 pounds of cheese a year. However, in order to combat this “cheese glut,” consumers would need to eat an additional three pounds of cheese this year. Hey, if my country needs me, I will certainly step up to the challenge.
Luckily, the extreme excess has caused cheese prices to plunge 45% in the States, which will be an all-time low for the dairy industry. Now this is a diet my wallet, and stomach, can get on board with.
Check out more information about the “cheese glut” here: