According to recent figures, the United States has the 7th largest per capita consumption of cheese. In 2004, that position in the world rankings equated to 31.2 pounds of cheese being eaten by every person in America. That’s a lot of pizzas! In fact, if all of that cheese consumption was pizza-related, a person would have to eat over 80 pizzas in a year. Not surprisingly, the Italians and Greeks rank higher than America in the cheese consumption stakes, but the gap is closing.
There are so many different types of cheese produced in America, but the most popular one for the cheese eaters of the country is Mozzarella. This pizza-topping favorite overtook cheddar to take the nation’s favorite crown in 2002 and shows no sign of giving up the title anytime soon. This is supported by the change in cheese production over the 10-year period from 1995 to 2005. In 1995, cheddar represented 34.9% of the cheese production in America. Mozzarella was a close second, accounting for 30.7%. However, in 2005, the cheddar production had dropped to 33.4% and mozzarella had climbed to almost equal cheddar at 33.1%. The most prolific cheese making state, not surprisingly is Wisconsin. Over a quarter of all American cheese is produced by the so-called ‘Cheese State’ ? a name it richly deserves.
The rise in cheese consumption in America can largely be attributed to the convenience of the product. Cheese can now be bought shredded or sliced and in re-sealable bags to keep it fresh for longer. The variety of cheese and mixed cheese combinations ensure that there is bound to be a cheese to suit any dish. Pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches and pasta are just some of the foods that cheese enhances. The use of cheese in many fast foods and take-outs has also contributed to the increase in the amount of cheese that Americans eat on a yearly basis.
The rising trend for cheese consumption shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Between 1980 and 2004, the amount of cheese eaten per person rose from 17.5 pounds to 31.2 pounds. That is a huge increase and the projected figure for the year 2015 is 34 pounds per capita. There is no doubt that the majority of Americans enjoy cheese in one form or another on a regular basis.
Of course, it isn’t just convenience that has led to the increase of cheese consumption in America ? health factors have also had an impact. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium. This essential nutrient helps strengthen bones and teeth. Interestingly, the amount of calcium in cheese differs by type. The best source of calcium in the cheese family is parmesan. Parmesan provides almost twice as much calcium, by weight, as mozzarella. There is no doubt, if you are looking for a quick and simple source of calcium, then a pizza with a mixture of cheese in the topping would be the ideal choice.