The American artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheese industry has been growing for decades, with more producers venturing into cheesemaking to meet growing consumer demand for unique, local, natural cheeses made using traditional methods.
- In 1983, the 1st ACS Conference welcomed 150 attendees. Since that time, the Conference has grown to be the industry’s premier educational event, with approximately 1,400 industry professionals in attendance.
- The ACS Judging & Competition has grown from just 89 entries in 1985 to over 2,000 entries today.
- ACS membership now includes more than 2,400 people.
- Cheese was the top category of specialty food sales in 2015, at more than 4 billion dollars—a 15% increase from 2013, according to the Specialty Food Association.
- There are nearly 1,000 artisan and specialty cheesemakers in the U.S., according to ACS’s 2018 “State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey.”
The biennial State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey provides critical data about the small businesses that make up the community of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers in America. The first biennial State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry Survey was held in 2016. It resulted in a Report of Key Findings which provided a snapshot of the small businesses that make up the community of artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheesemakers in America. With the release of its 2018 reports, and the release in early 2021 of the 2020 reports, ACS is expanding significantly upon what has historically been a limited field of data available about these producers.
In May 2020, the American Cheese Society (ACS) surveyed 980 artisan cheese community members including cheesemakers, cheesemongers, retailers, buyers, and other industry stakeholders to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the American cheese industry. Read more about the initial key findings here.