History of Cheese Consumption by Country
The history of cheese goes back longer than people think, with the invention of cheese happening strictly by accident. History says that cheese was created in the Middle East when an Arab went on a long desert journey with some milk for sustenance along the way. The milk was being stored in a bag that had been created from the stomach of a sheep.
A substance is known as rennet, which is taken from the sheep’s stomach lining, mixed with the milk and the desert heat and caused it to separate. Sheep cheese was born. Today, sheep rennet’s cheese is still made the same way. It is from this cheese that whey protein is derived, and this has become a global phenomenon.
Cheesemaking across the world has also been invented in the mountains of the Swiss Alps, the rich climates of France and Tuscany, and the bold churns of Germany. The International Dairy Federation estimates that France holds the title for the most cheese consumed in a year per capita, but Italy boasts a close second.
Where the Cheese Is
Humans are by nature lactose intolerant, but overall have evolved into a lactose retentive species. The way that the proteins are broken down in authentic cheese makes it very tolerable to eat in every country. Caucasians are the largest group that can eat cheese with ease, and approximately 50 percent of Africans can eat cheese. It is estimated that only 5 percent of Asians are lactose tolerant.
Countries That Eat the Most Cheese (Pounds Per Capita Per Year):
- France: 57.9
- Germany: 53.2
- Luxembourg: 53.2
- Iceland: 53.2
- Greece: 51.5
- Finland: 49.5
- Italy: 48.0
- Switzerland: 48
- Estonia: 45.8
- Netherlands: 42.7
Most of these countries are lactose intolerant, and still make the best cheese in the world. When it comes to production, and not consumption, the United States holds a tight position here, despite not making the top 10 list for consumption. The United States is only producing 34.1 pounds of cheese per capita annually, but exporting over $1.6 billion annually and helping the large cheese consumers stay on the list.