Americans love cheese. We grill it, we put it on macaroni, we devote entire charcuterie and cheese boards to it. Give us a block of cheese and by George we’ll figure out how to consume it in a single sitting. So pray tell, dear reader, why and how does our country currently have a 1.4-billion-pound cheese surplus?
This alarming news comes courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Data page—one this editor frequently peruses (J.K.). Never mind the fact that Americans consumed approximately 37 pounds of cheese per person in 2017, we’re simply not eating enough of it. There is 900,000 cubic yards of cheese around the country waiting, no begging, to be consumed. Subsequently, the price of cheese has plummeted, which is the small blessing in this conundrum.
But how did this problem arise? Well, Americans have been drinking progressively less milk. Farmers needed something to do with all that extra milk, so they made cheese, which has a longer shelf life. But then something else happened: We collectively began reaching for exotic European cheeses over processed cheeses. Suffice it to say, we’ve been playing cheese catchup ever since.
On the plus side, at least we can eat our way out of this problem. So, for cheese’s sake, people, start nomming.