MONROE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - In the Wisconsin cheese business a meteoric increase in product consumption and production is great but slow and steady growth is also a good thing!
In this segment of Wisconsin Dairy News, see how the demand for Hispanic cheese is on the rise!
Queso Oaxaca, Queso Quesadilla,Queso Fresco, and Manchego may be unfamiliar to some folks, but in grocery stores, especially in larger U.S. cities, these cheese varieties are in demand.
"I think there's a boundless demand right now for Hispanic cheese, I think we've only scratched the surface in Wisconsin, so there's great opportunity," says John Umhoefer, the Executive Director of Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association.
So what accounts for this demand in popular styles of Hispanic cheese?
"I think it's two things, I think there's more being sold at retail to the Hispanic community, and there's a food service opportunity that is really growing on the food service side as well, so there are two opportunities," continues John.
Now Wisconsin cheesemakers are cashing in on those opportunities by increasing their production of Hispanic cheeses.
"I started making Hispanic cheese for a dairy Co-op in Ohio, and it was just small at that time, we made probably forty thousand pounds in a month," explains David Webster, the President of W & W Dairy.
When David Webster and his partner Kevin Wyss came back to Wisconsin in 2000, they concentrated on making only Hispanic-style cheeses and in 2010 opened W & W Dairy where they're crafting about 30 thousand pounds of cheese each day.
"I knew that the quality of the Wisconsin milk was a lot better because I grew up on a dairy farm, and that's the main reason I came back. I just think Wisconsin makes the best cheese of any place in the world!"
And that's Wisconsin Dairy News!
Hispanic cheese production has grown steadily over the past decade averaging 9.1% growth per year since 2001. Wisconsin produced 59-million pounds of Hispanic cheeses in 2011, which is 26% of the national total.
Across the nation there are 62 cheese plants that make Hispanic cheeses including 15 in Wisconsin.
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