Economics

Top 20 Cheese Exporting Countries

Germany, the Netherlands, and France each exported more than $3 Billion worth of cheese in 2015.

Cheese is a well-known and popular dairy food throughout the world. Milk is the main ingredient and comes from cows, sheep, and goats. Cheeses come in various forms; hard or soft, herbed or smoked, aged or fresh. The list goes on and on. For many people, cheese is the perfect finish to a delicious dish. For others, cheese is never on their plate. The difference is cultural. Although not everybody consumes cheese, the world economy has a high demand for it; in response, some countries have included it in their exports. This list looks at top cheese exporters around the world and ranks them by the value of their exports. This ranking reflects neither consumption nor production.

Top Exporters

Germany

The majority of the top cheese exporters are from Europe. Not surprisingly then, the number 1 country on the list is Germany. Germany exports $3,753,096,000 worth of cheese every year. Bavarian blue cheese, Limburger, and Munster are a few of the most popular brands. Where does all of this cheese go? Well, Italy imports 24% of German cheese followed by the Netherlands at 11%.

Netherlands

While the Netherlands is the second largest importer of German cheeses, it also has the second highest value of exported cheeses in the world. The most recent number is $3,418,481,000. Here the most common types of cheeses are: Edam, Gouda, and Maasdam. The majority, 37% to be exact, of these exports are headed for Germany! It seems these two countries have a great cheese trading relation.

France

Known for their rich cuisine, France is number 3 on the list and exports an impressive $3,359,640,000 worth of cheese annually. The most significant of these are Brie and Camembert. Once again, Germany is the top importer, buying up 21% of French cheese exports.

Italy

Not surprisingly, Italy also makes the top of the list. With such famous cheeses as Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gorgonzola, it makes perfect sense that demand for Italian cheeses is high. So high, in fact, that Italy has a cheese export value of $2,506,997,000. France is its biggest customer with 20% of exports going there.

United States

Next on the list is no longer in Europe. The US, a major competitor in the cheese market, exports a cheese value of $1,391,522,000. Popular US cheeses are Colby and Monterrey Jack. The US has recently entered the Asian market which previously was not known for cheese consumption. Researchers predict that China may soon be the biggest importer of US cheeses.

Denmark

Close behind the US is Denmark with $1,379,792,000 in cheese exports and New Zealand with $1,158,743,000. New Zealand mainly exports Cheddar cheese and Japan happily buys 20% of those exports.

These are all of the countries where cheese exports exceed $1 billion in value.

Continued Growth

Cheese has a long history in dairy farming nations. Citizens within these countries often take pride in their unique cheeses because of the cultural identification they represent. This dairy product is a valuable food item and when consumed in moderation has a high nutritional value. Demand for cheese has gradually increased over the last decade and as Asian markets begin to develop a taste for it, that demand will only grow. This is good news for the top exporters in the world as it provides the opportunity to expand.

Top 20 Cheese Exporting Countries

RankCountry2015 Exports of Cheese and Curd (USD)
1Germany$3,753,096,000
2Netherlands$3,418,481,000
3France$3,359,640,000
4Italy$2,506,997,000
5United States$1,391,522,000
6Denmark$1,379,792,000
7New Zealand$1,158,743,000
8Belgium$817,716,000
9Ireland$780,947,000
10United Kingdom$686,804,000
11Australia$662,417,000
12Poland$650,336,000
13Belarus$620,747,000
14Switzerland$599,552,000
15Austria$537,508,000
16Spain$425,455,000
17Greece$407,928,000
18Saudi Arabia$352,270,000
19Luxembourg$331,864,000
20Lithuania$206,539,000

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