DES MOINES, Iowa -- According to the US Department of Agriculture, America reached a surplus of 1.4 billion pounds of cheese last year. People’s taste in cheese is changing from mass-produced cheese to more specialty artisan cheese.
Midwest Dairy says total cheese sales were up 2.1 percent in the last year, but there was a 3.8 percent decrease in sales of processed cheese.
“Natural cheese compared to some of the processed cheese have fewer ingredients making that label easier to read, more ingredients that are recognizable, as well as added nutrition benefits that can come with cheese such as that protein piece,” Midwest Dairy Marketing & Communications Manager Alyson Fendrick said.
Hy-Vee has even created an entire section dedicated to specialty cheese.
“A lot of cheeses say a lot about where they were made and who made them,” Hy-Vee Certified Cheese Professional Katie Mckenna said. She studied for nearly three years for a series of cheese exams.
“Super rigorous, there’s lots of science, lots about the cheese making process and all different things about animals too,” Mckenna said.
She said the artisan cheese movement just hit Iowa in the last couple years.
“I think cheese is kind of become like wine or beer in the way that there is so much variety,” Mckenna said.
It’s cheese that wasn’t produced in a factory, that through QR codes, you can track right back to the source.
“You can see the exact herd of cows that made the milk to produce the cheese,” Mckenna said.