Cheese market in Europe - Statistics and Facts

Europeans love their cheese. Every year, approximately 10 millon tons of cheese are consumed in the European Union. On average, a resident of the European Union will eat 14.2 kilos of cheese in 2017, and that figure is only expected to increase. According to figures for projected cheese consumption per capita in the EU, by 2025 Europeans will eat some 16 kilos of cheese. There are marked differences in consumption between countries. In 2016, Swedes and Norwegians each ate nearly 20 kilos of cheese per year, most of it white cheese. Italians ate even more on average, with 22 kilos per capita. The Spanish, on the other hand, only ate some seven kilos per year in 2017, most of it fresh cheese and semi-cured cheese.

Expenditure on cheese in Belgium reached 110 euros per person in 2017, an increase of over 20 euros in comparison to ten years earlier. In Spain consumers spent roughly half of that amount on cheese in 2016 with an average of 60 euros per capita.

Much of the cheese consumed is also produced in Europe, mainly in France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. The Dutch, for example, produced nearly 870 million kilos of cheese in 2017. In 2015, nearly 1.8 billion kilos of cheese were produced in France. In Belgium over 110,000 tons of cheese were produced in 2017. The Scandinavian countries are not as famous for their cheese, but here too production takes place. Finland produced nearly 86 million kilos of cheese the same year, whereas Norway's production was roughly 75,000 tons in 2014. Southern neighbor Denmark produced nearly 430 million kilos of cheese in 2016.

Most of the cheese produced in Europe was exported to other European countries, as well as other continents. Of the Dutch cheese, for example, approximately 32 percent was exported to Germany and 13 percent was exported to Belgium. Only a small percentage of the Dutch cheese was exported outside of Europe. The main export destinations for Swedish cheese were the Scandinavian neighbors Denmark, Finland and Norway. French exports amounted to nearly 690,000 tons in 2017, whereas Italy exported some 126,000 tons of fresh cheese in 2016.

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