[email protected] +44 20 8123 2220 (UK) +1 732 587 5005 (US) Contact Us | FAQ |

Global Cheese Market: Export Dynamics and Top Exporters

06 Jul 2018 • by Natalie Aster

LONDON – The worldwide cheese market has exhibited a positive growth during the previous few years, encouraged by the constantly rising global appetite for this product along with changing dietary preferences and habits of consumers, and availability of a rich product choice (in terms of textures, types, and flavours). Due to the soaring popularity of cheese amid consumers, it is now extensively used in a range of restaurants, fast-food joints, and households. Besides, the demand for cheese is on the rise across the globe as it contains a smaller amount of low-density lipoprotein, sodium, and saturated fats, and offers such benefits as strong teeth and bones, and a healthy heart. The mounting demand for cheese from the developing countries (especially in the Asian region) and the surging popularity of protein-rich foods are amid other important factors boosting the world’s consumption of cheese. Some of the varieties enjoying the highest popularity worldwide comprise cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, feta, brie, parmesan, gorgonzola, amidst others.

Last year, the global production volume of cheese totaled around 19.69 million tons. Meanwhile, the value of the world’s cheese market was estimated at USD 48.2 billion. This year, the world’s cheese output will likely keep on increasing and reach 21.6 million metric tons.

Global Cheese Exports

The value of the global cheese export sales amounted to USD 30.4 billion in the year 2017, registering a 14.2% YoY gain. Overall, since 2013 (when the global export shipments were estimated at USD 31.6 billion) the value of the world’s cheese exports declined on average by -3.8%.

Amid regions, European countries were the major revenue contributors to the global cheese exports last year with their combined shipments value reaching appr. USD 25.1 billion, which is equivalent to nearly 82.4% of the world’s total cheese exports. Meantime, shipments of cheese from New Zealand and Australia together accounted for 6.9% of the world’s total export value in 2017, well ahead of exporters from North America which captured a share of 5.1%. Asia’s cheese shippers grabbed a 2.4% share of the world’s total export value, whilst the Latin American (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean suppliers together held a share of 1.9%. The African cheese exporters accounted for a share of 1.3% of the global export value.

As for countries, Germany holds the top spot in terms of cheese exports – last year, the country’s cheese export value climbed to USD 4.4 billion. The Netherlands comes second with the cheese export value of USD 4.1 billion in 2017. France is in third place with cheese exports value reaching USD 3.5 billion in the past year.

15 leading cheese exporters globally, in 2017 (in billion USD)

 15 leading cheese exporters globally, in 2017 (in billion USD)

15 countries listed above together account for about 84.4% of the world’s cheese exports value in 2017.

Among these countries, the most rapidly-growing cheese-exporting countries since 2013 were: Italy (+8.8%), the Netherlands (+9.6%), the UK (+14.3%), New Zealand (+19.5%), and Belarus (+22%).

The countries that demonstrated declines in their cheese export sales since 2013 included: Belgium (-7.7%), Poland (-12.7%), France (-13.9%), and Germany (-14.3%).

Key Facts About Top 3 Cheese Exporters:


Presently, France is the 3rd largest supplier of cheese in the world. This country captures an 11.3% share of the global cheese export shipments value. The most popular types of cheese exported from France are Brie, Comté, and Camembert.

France’s cheese export volume during 2013-2017 (in thousand tons)

France’s cheese export volume during 2013-2017 (in thousand tons)

Around one-third of the total French cheese production goes for exports. In 2016, the export shipments volume of cheese from France decreased by 10 thousand tons and totaled around 671 thousand tons. However, it increased by 13 thousand tons in 2017 and reached 684 thousand tons.

French cheese is majorly exported to European countries with the highest volumes supplied to Germany, the UK, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. Outside of Europe, the important export destinations of French cheese include the US, Japan, and South Korea.


With a chunk of 13.4% in the global cheese export value, the Netherlands is the 2nd biggest exporter around the globe. The most common types of cheese exported from this country include Gouda, Edam, and Maasdam.

Major cheese export destinations of the Netherlands, in 2017 (in million EUR)

Above two-thirds of the total volume of cheese produced in the Netherlands are shipped abroad. Germany is the leading importer of cheese from the Netherlands, it accounts for around 37% of the country’s export shipments. Other important cheese export destinations of the Netherlands comprise Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, etc.


Germany is the number one country on the list of the top global cheese exporters. It grabs a share of 14.5% of the world’s total cheese exports value. Bavarian blue cheese, Munster, Tilsit, Rauchkase, and Limburger are the most popular types of cheese produced in Germany.

Germany’s cheese export volume during 2010-2016 (in million tons)

Germany’s cheese export volume during 2010-2016 (in million tons)

Germany ships abroad almost 50% of the total domestic cheese production volume. Italy is the dominant importer of German cheese capturing a 24% share of the total cheese export shipments from Germany. Other key export destinations of German cheese include the Netherlands, Russia, France, and Spain.

Final Words

The world’s cheese market is projected to go up at a CAGR of appr. 10% in the next 5 years. By 2023, the market value is anticipated to surpass USD 81.1 billion.

The demand for cheese has been continuously increasing during the recent years and is slated to continue gaining traction in the coming years. This is good news for the leading cheese-exporting countries as it provides a lucrative opportunity for further expansion.

© MarketPublishers.com, 2018

Analytics & News

Weekly Digest