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Cheddar’s Been Better


chedar header

Remember 2008? Wasn’t it a fun year? Remember all the R&R time you had after you got laid off? I watched every episode of Star Trek for plot holes, then did the same thing for FarScape. Sure, I was only about 13 in 2008, but whatever—I was still old enough to remember that gas hovered at right about $1,000 a gallon and my family started to “bike-pool” places. Now, gas is roughly one stick of chewing gum per gallon and I can finally drive my Hummer the way George Bush intended: blasting the heat and the A/C with the windows open.

Yes, but what about the cheese?

Well, it turns out large-scale block cheddar has been doing the same thing gas. It’s true—our favorite Orange Gold is experiencing its lowest prices in 23 years. For some context, the price of a barrel of oil is only at its lowest point since 2004. This is grate(!) news for all the American turophiles out there, unless, you know, you make cheddar (in which case, sorry, this post might be a little sharp).

Thankfully, the dropping cheddar prices can be attributed to things a lot less scary than fracking or strip-mining tar sands. Basically prices are low because here in the good ‘ol US of A we are just too damn good at making cheese, and we don’t like to share. According to SpendMatters, 2015 set a cheddar production record in the states, with roughly 5.3 million tons made. In conjunction with a record yield, our exports of the stuff dropped 14%, creating a glorious cheese surplus.

The surplus shows, and since the last half of 2014 the average price of cheddar has dropped more than a third, from $2.69 to $1.72 per pound. It’s now significantly cheaper to buy a pound of cheddar than it is to get on the subway. The choice should be obvious.

The cost of milk is obviously all important in cheddar pricing, and the dairy industry is currently experiencing similarly low milk prices, so there is a pretty good chance that the U.S.’s plethora of sharp and extra sharp might not go anywhere any time soon.

So rejoice friends—the future is bright! Soon our nation’s fountains will run orange with cheddar fondue!

Brook O'Meara-Sayen

Brook O’Meara-Sayen is a journalism student at Emerson College forever on the hunt for that last ten minutes of sleep. In his spare time he enjoys reading, Merle Haggard, and spending Friday evenings trying to break his personal record for most cheddar eaten in one sitting.