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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Cheese production: Where does Ireland rank in Europe?

Ireland has ranked third among the top cheese-producing nations per capita.

That is according to the Chef’s Pencil newest report, which it released from an analysis of the latest cheese-producing figures published by Eurostat, USDA, Statista, Index Mundi, Dairy Australia, and Dairy Industries Magazine.

The report shows that Denmark tops the global per capita production table with 78 kilograms produced per person.

It is followed by New Zealand (76.1 kg/person), Ireland (56.7 kg/person), the Netherlands (54.2 kg/person) and Cyprus (42.0 kg/person).

Cheese-producing “powerhouses” such as Germany, France, Italy, and the United States rank 9th, 11th, 15th, and 17th, respectively.

Ireland ranks third worldwide, having produced 287,000 metric tonnes of cheese in 2021.

A spokesperson for the report said:

“Cheese production in Ireland has increased at a staggering rate in recent years. For the past five years, Ireland has recorded the second highest cheese production growth rate in the European Union, up 39%, only second to Cyprus.”

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“This is almost five times higher than the growth rate for the EU as a whole.”

‘Absolute numbers’

While Denmark, New Zealand, and Ireland produce the most per person, looking at absolute numbers, the ranking “shifts considerably”.

“If we were to rank countries according to total yearly cheese production, the US lands the top spot, with 6,217 thousand metric tonnes produced in a year.”

Germany ranks second worldwide, having produced 2,361 thousand metric tonnes of cheese in 2021, while France sits in third place, with 1,856 thousand metric tonnes.

Closing the top five is Italy, which produces 1,374 thousand metric tonnes per year.

Looking at “absolute” numbers, comes 14th, with 455 thousand metric tonnes produced in 2021, while Ireland ranks 19th worldwide, slightly ahead of China.

The state states that except for Greece (2020) and North Macedonia (2016), all cheese production volumes are for the year 2021.

It sourced population figures from Eurostat and the World Bank.

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