This Week's Top Story



This Week's Other Stories:

A Fond Farewell To NCI, MIF, IICA And NYA

Hard Brexit Could Mean Full Tariffs Applied To Both Dairy Exports From EU Into UK, Exports From UK To EU

To Meet Evolving Consumer Demands, Dairy Supply Chains Will Be Reshaped

GUEST COLUMNIST: Dairy And The Evers Administration
by John Umhoefer, WCMA

COMPANY PROFILE: Despite Major Contest Wins, Farm At Doe Run Will Stay Small, Sustainable


Milk Price Decline Not Expected; Dairy Situation & Outlook by Bob Cropp

On Serendipity, Common Sense and Social Justice by Dan Strongin

Don’t Forget Communications In Your Crisis Planning by Jen Pino-Gallagher

As FSMA Takes Full Effect, Partnership Opportunities Abound To Improve Food Safety Practices by Larry Bell and Jim Mueller

Iowa State Looks To Build Cheese, Ice Cream Plant For Training Students, Farm Entrepreneurs


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Specialty Cheese Growth Continues, But Profit Margins Remain A Concern: ACS

Artisan cheese continues to top specialty food sales annually, but many cheese companies still struggle to maintain even the slimmest of profit margins.

This is one of several key findings in a new US Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Report released this week by the American Cheese Society (ACS). This latest edition builds on the inaugural report prepared in 2016, and works to identify potential trends and provide information about the artisan, farmstead and specialty cheese sector in the US.

Researchers at the University of Missouri conducted the 2018 survey on behalf of ACS, and many findings are similar to comparative data reported in 2016.

Researchers analyzed key findings in six areas: demographics – location, years in business, facility size, profitability, employees and business operating expenditures; production – volume, cheese styles, milk types and sources, and aging; marketing – labeling and distribution; food safety – microbial and pathogen testing, inspections, audits and sourcing; industry participation – state, regional and national guild membership; and attitudes – perceptions regarding cheese makers’ own operations and the wider industry.

There are nearly 1,000 artisan and specialty cheese makers in the US, researchers found – a number which has increased significantly over past decades. Seventy-six percent of cheese makers reported annual cheese production of 50,000 pounds or less, indicating that this growing industry largely consists of smaller businesses.

Cheese continues to top US specialty food sales at more than $4 billion in 2017, according to the Specialty Food Association. Yet the artisan and specialty cheese industry is not without challenges – despite overall growth, just 80 percent of cheese makers operated profitably in 2017, and average profit margins were slim.

Ninety-two percent of cheese makers reported that maintaining profitability is an area of concern. Cheese makers that reported a higher production volume averaged higher gross revenue, but ...

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