Ireland ranks third worldwide among the countries with the highest production of cheese per capita, with 56.7 kilograms per person, according to a new study from Chef's Pencil.
Only Denmark (78 kg/person) and New Zealand (76.1 kg/person) outranked Ireland. The Netherlands (54.2 kg/person) and Cyprus (42.0 kg/person) round out the top five.
The researchers looked at each country’s total yearly cheese production and correlated that with the size of each country’s population to see how much cheese is produced per person. The report is based on the cheese production numbers for 2021, the latest available figures.
Ireland produces 287 thousand metric tons of cheese every year and has a population of roughly 5 million. That amounts to 56.7 kilograms of cheese produced per capita or roughly 125 pounds per person.
Ireland's dairy industry is booming, with the country's cheese production increasing at a staggering rate in recent years.
Ireland ranks second in the EU among countries with the highest cheese production growth over the past five years, with a recorded 39 percent growth in cheese production from 2016 to 2021. This is nearly five times higher than the growth rate for the EU as a whole.
Irish farmhouse cheese is incredibly popular, and there are currently 45 farmhouse cheesemakers across the country. Farmhouse cheese is basically produced from the milk produced on the same farm where the cheese is made.
In absolute terms, Ireland ranks 19th worldwide having produced 287,000 metric tons of cheese in 2021.
In terms of total cheese production, the United States is the world’s largest producer of cheese, producing 6,217 thousand metric tons of cheese produced in a year.
The United States is followed by Germany, France, and Italy in the top five countries in the world with the highest cheese production.
You can see Chef's Pencil "Ranked: World’s Top Cheese-producing Countries per Capita" here.