Module 1. History, status and scope of cheese industry

Lesson 2

2.1 Introduction

There has been steady increase in the consumption of cheese in most countries worldwide, the annual growth rate in cheese consumption being over 3% with an acceleration expected due to worldwide trend of adopting Western consumption habits with a high level of cheese in the diet. About 40% of total world milk production is converted into cheese. As can be seen from Table 2.1, conversion of milk to cheese has exhibited an increasing trend unlike in case of other products. The major cheese production has centered in Western countries. In 2008, 17.2 million tonnes of cheese was produced in the world, of which the European Union and United States accounted for more than 50%. Significantly, New Zealand exported 110,000 tonnes (over 75% of the production) and is the world’s number two exporter. Both Australia and Switzerland ranking third and fourth, respectively, exported almost 45% of their total production. All these three countries along with EU accounted for 80% of the total world exports of almost one million tonnes in 1993.

Table 2.1 World milk utilization pattern (%)


The scenario of cheese production in India is quite bright because of recent economic reforms based on globalization and liberalization in the marketing arena that have prompted the Indian dairy industry to penetrate the large international cheese market. The growth pattern of cheese production in India has been quite encouraging, being 800 tonnes in 1977 and 1000 tonnes in 1980. It increased to about 3000 tonnes per annum in 1987. In 1994, the production was estimated at 8000 tonnes, against the installed capacity of 9000 tonnes.
The growth pattern of cheese production is shown in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2 Cheese production in top cheese producing countries (MMT)

2.2 Mode of Utilization

Cheeses are highly diversified. Names of cheeses number about 2000, although many have little differences. The manufacturing procedure and curing through centuries have resulted in the production of the cheese which ranges in flavour from extremely mild to very sharp and in texture from semi-solid to almost stone hard. Thus cheeses differ in varying degrees in nutritive value, appearance, flavour, texture and cooking properties. Consequently cheese is capable of satisfying a diverse range of sensory and nutritional demands. The use of cheese is extended by secondary processing methods to create an array of cheese-based products. The major usage levels (per cent of total cheese consumed) is: Natural, 39%; Dry, 28%; Processed, 13%; and Low-fat, 20%. The use of cheese as food ingredient accentuated the need for specific and consistent properties, which must be attained with correct flavour synergistic with the food. The comparative usage level of cheese in different food products is shown in Table 2.4. Cheese maker can provide a range of different flavours, texture and compositional properties to suit a variety of needs. It requires knowledge about its functionalities which can be effectively exploited for the benefits of consumers.

Table 2.3 Utilization of cheese in different food products


The natural cheese can be eaten as such or on bread, biscuits, etc as slices. At the turn of this century, developments in melting processes, involving natural cheese at various ages, have given birth to a line of process cheese products with controlled flavour, texture and extended shelf life. In addition, various shapes, sizes, configurations and sliced versions are created to provide varieties with novel applications. The consumer can use these products as ingredients in cooking of several dishes or as ready-to-eat snacks. These products are designed to be consumed as a spread or as slices in sandwiches and function as dip or toppings on snacks. Cheese crackers are quite popular in Western countries. Natural cheese can be dried to prolong its shelf life. Dried products can be used in bakery products, soups, sauces, snacks, pasta products, ready meals, biscuits, fillings, cheese substitutes/imitations, etc.

Cheese consumption opportunities exist around all meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between meal snacks. We can, therefore, assume consumption of about 20-25 grams cheese per head twice a week in one form or another. Assuming the Indian population at 100 crores, this leads to an estimated potential annual demand of about 50000 tonnes. This is the domestic potential in cheese demand. In this projection, the production and consumption of paneer, chhana and shrikhand is not included, though technically they are also classified as cheese.

Process cheese spread and slices have proven to be ideal bread-mates. There is a very high growth rate in consumption of bread. Butter, the traditional spread for bread is now avoided by people due to its high fat content which is implicated with obesity and cardiovascular diseases. The other conventional spreads like jam and jelly are avoided owing to their high calorific value. The introduction of pizza in India has added new fillip for enhanced consumption of Mozzarella cheese.

Suggested Reading

Singh, S. (2011). Production and marketing of cheese – a global perspective. Lecture compendium on Advances in cheese and fermented products (Centre of Advanced Faculty Training), 1-8.

Last modified: Thursday, 1 November 2012, 5:24 AM