Top 5 US Cheese Importers in 2021

Mexico ranked first among importers of cheese from the United States, with purchases of 458 million dollars in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 6.9 percent.

These imports also represented an increase of 9.3% over 2019, according to data from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC).

In the second position is South Korea, with imports of 285 million dollars, an advance of 5.8%, at an annual rate.

They were followed by Japan ($109 million and an increase of 16.3%), Australia ($98 million and a growth of 2.8%) and Canada ($84 million and an increase of 21.4 percent).

Cheese importers

To the entire world, US cheese exports totaled 1,795 million dollars in 2021, this is 12.8% more than in the previous year and an amount higher by 16.6% over 2019.

As for Mexico, the states of Jalisco, Chihuahua, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán and Chiapas produce most of the cheese (both industrial and artisanal), with soft cheeses accounting for 75% of production.

Cheese production continues to be mostly artisanal and small-scale, with the aim of satisfying regional demand.

While some dairies set up their own small processing facilities and sell cheese locally, industrial cheese operations account for a quarter of all cheese produced in Mexico.

At the same time, cheese consumption in Mexico has room to grow. According to the National Association of Milk Processors (CANILEC), per capita consumption of cheese in Mexico is close to 4 kg per year, considerably less than the United States with 17 kg per year or Canada with 14 kg per year.

From the perspective of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the marketing of innovative and ready-to-eat cheese products, as well as the promotion of the nutritional qualities of cheese, could help increase the consumption of cheese,

Imported cheeses do not reach most consumers directly; rather, they are used as ingredients in other food products (for example, in pizzas).

For direct cheese purchases, consumers still rely heavily on local cheeses, which are available at affordable prices.

The USDA expects the United States to remain the dominant supplier of cheese exports to Mexico, with a market share of 80%, followed by the Netherlands, with 9%.


Redacción Opportimes