The USA Cheese Guild has witnessed steady growth in the demand for cheese from the USA in the UAE and the wider Middle East.
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 six million tonnes a year, which is more than France, Italy, and Switzerland combined.
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.”
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.
Sunjeh Raja, founder, director and CEO of the ICCA Dubai, said: “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.