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Mixed Milk Cheese Has ‘Great Potential,’ Can Reduce Cost & Increase Innovation
The category for mixed milk specialty cheese in the US has tremendous potential for growth, offering cheese makers reduced manufacturing costs compared to straight goat or sheep’s milk cheese, and greater opportunity for flavor innovation.
The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) first added a mixed milk category to its cheese contest in 2002 as a response to growth in mixed milk cheese sales.
“It was added in a World Contest year, most likely to create more opportunities for European cheese makers to enter their cheeses in the contest,” said Jane Cisler, WCMA contest manager.
The category has seen significant growth over the past decade, with a need to further differentiate the Mixed Milk Cheese class into several categories defined by moisture and/or flavor, Cisler said.
“We would only anticipate those numbers to grow as cheese makers get more and more creative with mixed milk cheese varieties,” she continued.
Evidence for the increased production and popularity of mixed milk cheeses can be found in entry numbers. In 2006, a total of 32 cheeses were entered in the Mixed Milk Cheese class, 23 of which were from the US.
Two years later, seven cheeses were in the Soft Sheep’s Milk & Mixed Milk Cheese class – two from the US; 12 in the Flavored Soft & Semi Soft Sheep & Mixed Milk class – eight from the US;