The USA Cheese Guild®, responsible for showcasing the creativity and versatility of the U.S cheese industry, has witnessed steady growth in the demand for cheese from the USA in the UAE and the wider Middle East thanks to intensive awareness and trade campaigns and increasing consumer demand for new, innovative, flavourful, healthy, natural and convenient foods.
In recent years, the USA Cheese Guild has featured a range of U.S cheesemakers to the region resulting in significant inroads into the retail segment with several USA cheeses now available on shelves and deli counters of major supermarket chains in the Middle East.
Chef Antonio El Khoury, Director of Culinary Programs MENA for the USA Cheese Guild said:
"The popularity of USA cheese is a testament to its quality and varieties that suit every taste. With more than 1,000 types of cheese, there are many ways to consume USA cheeses. It is enjoyed around the world as a stand-alone food, as well as a versatile ingredient in food applications to suit every part of the day."
According to the USA Cheese Guild, the United States exports of cheese to the Middle East during 2020 is estimated at over 16,800 tonnes, worth US$76 million. The UAE accounted for 4,800 tonnes, worth over US$22 million. In total, the United States produces nearly 6 million tonnes a year, which is more than France, Italy, and Switzerland combined.
As part of the organisation’s drive to showcase the range of high-quality cheeses available, and the new and exciting ways of using them in fusion and local cuisine, the USA Cheese Guild has undertaken a unique and multi-faceted educational approach to showcase the quality, taste, health and nutrition of USA cheese.
The USA Cheese Guild has collaborated with several organisations in the Middle East. These have included a culinary scholarship to allow young chefs to study, work and learn more about USA cheese in Dubai through the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and the Emirates Culinary Guild.
The USA Cheese Guild also launched the USA Cheese Specialist Certification Programme in partnership with ICCA Dubai, which saw 40 UAE-based chefs awarded global cheese certification this year.
Sunjeh Raja, Founder, Director and CEO of the ICCA Dubai, said: " ICCA Dubai, is a proud partner of the USA Cheese Guild and has been delivering the Guild's Cheese Program to the UAE hospitality industry since 2018.
"In our experience, we have found cheese from the USA to be extremely popular with professional chefs, due to its adaptability and ease of use in a variety of dishes and cuisines.
"USA cheese not only inspires the chefs to do more and make an impact with what they normally cook, but also helps them add value using the wide variety of exotic USA Cheese available for their fine dining menus as well."
In addition to the extensive educational programme, a range of in-store activations to build consumer awareness has been launched, while participation at the forthcoming Gulfood is further underscoring the USA cheese community's commitment to the region.
The United States has a rich and diverse history of cheesemaking, including cream cheese, Monterey Jack, and Colby Jack often referred to as American Originals. However, thanks to a combination of new and old techniques, cheesemakers in the United States also produce some of the most sought-after and award-winning varieties on the market.
The United States has evolved into a robust cheesemaking community which incorporates a diverse range of flavours and textures. From some of the most extensive cheese-producing facilities in the world to small artisanal makers, the cheese community in the United States produces an astounding variety of award-winning cheeses of exceptional flavour, texture, and quality.
USA Cheese Guild ®