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 eight kilos per year in 2015, most of it fresh cheese and semi-cured cheese.
Expenditure on cheese in Belgium reached 113 euros per person in 2015, an increase of nearly 20 euros in comparison to ten years earlier. In Spain consumers spent roughly half of that amount on cheese in the same year, with an average of 58 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 some 850 million kilos of cheese in 2015. In the same period, nearly 1.8 billion kilos of cheese were produced in France. In Belgium approximately 100,000 tons of cheese were produced in 2015.
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 30 percent was exported to Germany and ten 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 700,000 tons in 2015, whereas Italy exported some 110,000 tons of fresh cheese the same year.
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