Cheese consumption has dramatically increased in the past 30 years. Consumers are willing to try new varieties of cheese and pay a premium for them. According to recent research from Dairy Management Inc., 74 percent of consumers love the taste of cheese and 78 percent say they want to try new and different varieties. Although Cheddar and Mozzarella continue to be the two most largely consumed cheeses, it is the specialty cheeses that are driving the growth of the cheese industry. (Berry, 1998) Jim Path Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsinâ ®s center for Dairy Research (2001) defines a specialty cheese as a cheese that is low in production volume - less than 40 million pounds of production annually. It is labor intensive; has the perception of a value added product; may have an ethnic background and/or a special manufacturing process or packaging. Specialty cheeses offer very high quality and with all its subtle variations in textures, flavors and ethnic heritages, it is perfect for todayâ ®s adventurous and flavor-seeking consumer. It is difficult for consumers in this market to find a wide variety of quality specialty cheeses in the area. Supermarkets and delis carry a small variety, but there selections are limited.
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