Global cheese markets hit record highs

In 2019, the global cheese market increased by 2.3% to $114.1 billion (€94.7bn), rising for the third year in a row after two years of decline, according to a new report from IndexBox. World-Cheese-Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights also found that the market value increased at an average annual rate of +1.1% over the period from 2013 to 2019, and the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations in certain years. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 when the market value increased by 7.1% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the global market reached its maximum level in 2019.

Taking into account the closure of the hotel, recreation and catering sectors worldwide due to the pandemic, a decrease in consumer incomes and possible disruptions in the work of international supply chains, global cheese consumption is expected to stagnate in 2020. Afterward, the start of gradual market growth is expected as the global economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic. The market is forecast to expand with an anticipated compound annual growth rate of +0.6% for the period to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 27 million tonnes by the end of 2030.

The US (6.1 million tonnes) remains the largest cheese consuming country worldwide, accounting for 24% of total volume. Moreover, cheese consumption in the US exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, Germany (3 million tonnes), twofold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by France (1.6 million tonnes), with a 6.4% share.

From 2013 to 2019, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume in the US totalled 2.5%. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Germany (+4.4% per year) and France (+1.3% per year).

In value terms, the US ($25.9 billion) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Germany ($11.2B). It was followed by Italy.

The countries with the highest levels of cheese per capita consumption in 2019 were the Czech Republic (64 kg per person), Germany (37 kg per person) and France (25 kg per person).

From 2013 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of cheese per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by the Czech Republic, while cheese per capita consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Driven by increasing demand for cheese worldwide, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade.

In 2019, the amount of cheese produced worldwide rose slightly to 26 million tonnes, picking up by 2.6% on the year before. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of 2.6% from 2013 to 2019; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations in certain years.

The countries with the highest volumes of cheese production in 2019 were the US (6.3 million tonnes), Germany (3.5 million tonnes) and France (1.9 million tonnes), with a combined 46% share of global production. These countries were followed by Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Argentina, Russia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, the UK and Canada, which together accounted for a further 26%.

In 2019, approximately 7.1 million tonnes of cheese were imported worldwide; rising by 3.5% against 2018. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.7% over the period from 2013 to 2019; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations throughout the analysed period. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 with an increase of 4.2% against the previous year. Over the period under review, global imports attained the peak figure in 2019 and are expected to retain growth in the near future. In value terms, cheese imports rose to $32.3 billion (IndexBox estimates) in 2019.

From 2013 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by the Netherlands, while imports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.In value terms, Germany ($4.2 billion) constitutes the largest market for imported cheese worldwide, comprising 13% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the UK ($2.1 billion), with a 6.5% share of global imports. It was followed by Italy, with a 6.3% share.

The average cheese import price stood at $4,532 per tonne in 2019, falling by -1.6% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the import price showed a noticeable descent. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2017 when the average import price increased by 11% year-to-year. Over the period under review, average import prices attained the peak figure at $5,303 per tonne in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2019, import prices failed to regain the momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was the US ($7,560 per tonne), while Saudi Arabia ($3,362 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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