Canadians’ demand for cheese growing despite rising cost of dairy

Canadians are still showing high demand for cheese and related products despite an unprecedented rise in the cost of dairy goods.

Over the decade between 2010 and 2020, Canadian cheese consumption increased by 15 per cent, according to Statista data reported by Canadian Grocer. Statista has noticed significant gains in the time since 2020, too, and found that the average Canadian eats 12.5 kilograms of cheese per year, making Canada the fifth-cheese-hungriest country in the world.

The trend shows no sign of slowing.

In 2022, unprocessed cheese sales in Canada are expected to hit around $439 million and processed cheese sales will earn another $1 billion.

This is despite the price of dairy soaring in recent months.

In March, Statistics Canada reported that food prices rose 7.4 per cent year over year in February, the largest such increase since May 2009. Dairy goods led the way, with cheese indexes up three per cent, milk rising in price by 6.6 per cent and eggs by 7.2 per cent. Farm gate milk prices rose six cents per litre, or roughly 8.4 per cent, on Feb. 1, and Canada is currently seeing the largest annual spike in dairy and egg prices since February 1983.

That was even before the Dairy Farmers of Canada requested a rare mid-year milk price hike due to the highest rate of inflation seen in decades. The increase would mark the second jump in dairy prices this year and if approved by the Canadian Dairy Commission, would be effective Sept. 1.

Canadian Grocer notes that the sustained rise in demand for cheese is being driven by numerous factors such as plant-based innovation, snacks and cooking kits, and product innovation.