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American Cheese Society Releases Findings from its 2016 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey

American Cheese Society Releases Findings from its 2016 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey


DENVER, CO
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The American Cheese Society (ACS) has pinpointed a need for greater insights into the small businesses that make up the community of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers throughout the nation. Thus, the ACS has released the findings from its first-ever 2016 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey. 

According to a press release, ACS created the survey to provide a snapshot of this community of producers and fill a void of data from the growing group. The ACS identified and reached out to U.S. producers to report key findings in the following three areas:

  • Cheesemaker Demographics: Location, production volume, product types
  • Cheesemaking Practices: Milk sources, milk types, cheese aging
  • Business Insights: Sales channels, revenues and profit margins, employees, facilities 

2016 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey

The ACS stated that at the time of its survey there were 900 artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers operating in the U.S. Findings from those surveyed showed the following date from over the past year:

  • 74% produced 50,000 lbs of cheese or less.
  • 66% made their cheese using milk from their own animals.
  • 67% of businesses reported gross revenues under $500,000.
  • 92% of their production was sold domestically.
  • 42% say they produce other dairy items in addition to cheese.

The survey was conducted on behalf of ACS by agricultural economists at the University of Connecticut and the University of Georgia. Funding was provided by the American Cheese Education Foundation.

ACS will be releasing additional data from the survey throughout the year in a series of reports that focus on food safety practices and business benchmarking. A PDF of the current findings is available here.

American Cheese Society