How Many Types of Cheese Are There? (New 2023 Statistics)

The Cheese production industry has evolved over time due to a combination of tradition, innovation, and consumers’ growing demand for a variety of cheeses from various places around the globe.

But how many types of cheese are there?

Let’s dig into the latest data to discover how many types of cheese exist, their variations across countries, and the consumer demand for each cheese type.

How Many Types of Cheese Are There?

As of current data, there are approximately 1,800 distinct types of cheeses recognized globally. This figure indicates an increase of around 100 cheeses from the count of 1,700 varieties ten years back.

Fascinatingly, predictions suggest that this number will continue to rise, potentially reaching 1,900 varieties by the end of 2025.

How Many Types of Cheese Are There

Here’s a comprehensive illustration of the global increase in cheese types over the past two decades:

YearNumber of Cheese TypesIncrease Over Previous YearIncrease Over Previous Year (%)
20031,500
20041,51515↑ 1%
20051,53015↑ 0.99%
20061,54515↑ 0.98%
20071,56015↑ 0.97%
20081,57515↑ 0.96%
20091,59015↑ 0.95%
20101,60515↑ 0.94%
20111,62015↑ 0.93%
20121,63515↑ 0.92%
20131,65520↑ 1.2%
20141,67520↑ 1.2%
20151,69520↑ 1.19%
20161,71015↑ 0.88%
20171,72515↑ 0.88%
20181,74015↑ 0.87%
20191,75515↑ 0.86%
20201,77015↑ 0.85%
20211,78515↑ 0.84%
20221,80015↑ 0.84%
20231,81515↑ 0.83%
20241,83520↑ 1.1%
20251,85520↑ 1.09%

Cheese, with its existing varieties and potential new additions, possesses a market value of around $69.7 billion globally. This figure is expected to grow as preferences evolve and new cheeses enter the market.

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Cheese Varieties by Country

Certain countries have a traditionally rich history and culture of cheese manufacturing, resulting in hundreds of unique cheese styles.

France leads the world in the variety of cheeses produced with over 400 recognized cheeses to its name. Meanwhile, Italy and the UK follow closely, boasting 350 and 320 recognized types, respectively.

Cheese Varieties by Country

Here is the breakdown of recognized cheese types by select countries:

CountryRecognized Cheese Types
France400
Italy350
UK320
Switzerland200
Netherlands180
Spain150
Denmark100
Austria75
United States75
Australia60

Detailed Breakdown of Cheese Types

Here, we take a closer look at the breakdown of cheese types.

Soft Cheese

Soft cheeses are those that have a creamy texture and are easily spreadable. There are approximately 300 kinds of soft cheeses globally.

Popular soft cheeses include Brie, Camembert, Neufchâtel, and Cream Cheese.

Hard Cheese

Hard or firm cheeses have less moisture, and they are usually aged longer. There are about 250 types of hard cheeses worldwide.

Examples of hard Cheese are Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan, and Manchego.

Semi-Soft Cheese

Semi-soft cheese lies in the middle of the spectrum. These cheeses have a more supple texture than hard cheeses but hold their shape better than soft cheeses. 200 varieties of this type of cheese exist around the world.

Notable semi-soft cheeses are Havarti, Muenster, Jarlsberg, and Monterey Jack.

Semi-Hard Cheese

Semi-hard cheeses have been allowed to age enough for the moisture to evaporate, leaving behind a more dense cheese. About 150 types of semi-hard cheeses can be found globally.

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Examples of semi-hard cheese include Provolone, Gruyère, and Emmental.

Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheese, also known as unripened cheese, is made to be eaten fresh and typically has a mild or light flavor. There are about 150 types of fresh cheeses.

Ricotta, Feta, and Mascarpone are examples of fresh cheeses.

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese is a type of cheese that has had Penicillium cultures added, producing a flavor often described as tangy or pungent. There are roughly 50 varieties of blue cheeses available worldwide.

Famous types of blue cheese include Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton.

Processed Cheese

Processed cheese is made by heating and blending various cheese types, adding emulsifiers. Today, we have around 250 kinds of processed cheeses available in the market.

Notable processed cheeses are American Cheese, Easy Cheese, and Cheese Whiz.

While these categories capture a significant portion of the cheese types available, innovative cheesemakers and the blending of cheese-making traditions ensure there is always something new and exciting happening in the world of cheese.

Cheese Consumption by Region/Country

When looking at cheese consumption worldwide, statistics show that Northern Europe, notably Denmark and Finland, top the list.

Cheese Consumption by Region/Country

Here’s a breakdown of cheese consumption per capita by country in 2023:

CountryConsumption per Capita (kg)
Denmark28.1
Finland27.3
France27.0
Italy24.0
Netherlands23.4
Sweden21.0
Switzerland19.8
Germany18.8
United States16.1
Australia14.0

New Cheese Varieties Introduced in 2023

As of 2023, around 15 new cheese varieties have entered the global market with categories ranging from soft and hard to those infused with different flavors.

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Some of the new cheese types include Berry Brie (a soft cheese combined with a hint of berry flavor) and Espresso Cheddar (a hard cheddar cheese with a slight coffee flavor).

New Cheese Varieties Introduced in 2023

Pairing Cheese with Wine and Food

Pairing cheese with wines and food has become a popular gastronomic exercise. For instance, Brie pairs well with a sparkling wine or Chardonnay, while cheddar combines well with Cabernet Sauvignon. In terms of food, cheeses like Gorgonzola pair well with sweet foods like fruits and honey.

Consumer Preferences on Cheese Types

According to a 2023 report, consumers show a proclivity towards semi-hard cheeses, with around 45% of consumers opting for this type. Soft cheese follows close behind with about a 28% preference rate among consumers globally.

Consumer Preferences on Cheese Types

Cheese Producers and Key Players in the Market

Prominent players in the global cheese market include Kraft Foods Inc., Fonterra Co-operative Ltd., and Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited. France, the Netherlands, the United States, and New Zealand are the leading countries in cheese exportation.

Cheese Producers and Key Players in the Market

Conclusion

The breadth and variety of cheeses globally is truly astounding and testament to the artistry and skill of cheesemakers worldwide.

With continuing innovation and dedication to the craft, the world of cheese will continue to excite and delight cheese enthusiasts and regular consumers alike.

It’s safe to say that the cheese industry is constantly evolving, and we can confidently anticipate much more diversity in cheese types in the near future.