College - Author 1

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Department - Author 1

Dairy Science Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Dairy Science



Primary Advisor

Bruce Golden


The objective of this paper is to determine the growth and future scale of artisan dairy products. The purpose of this paper is to analyze why there has been such a great demand for artisan dairy products, how they are produced, and the promotion and scale of the specialty dairy industry product production.

The review begins with a brief discussion on the different terms used for specialty dairy products. Followed by the introduction is history of the dairy industry and its growth and change over many, many years. Dairy products have been around longer than they have actually been recorded. As the population increased so did the production of dairy products. In 1850, the production of dairy products in American was larger than any other country. The first major increase in the distribution and consumption of milk happened from approximately 1870-1950. With the development of the centrifugal cream separator by Alfred de Laval, and soon after the factory system of production was established. With the big industrial push came the escalated production of commodity products produced in a large scale by machinery.

In the past few decades the United States consumers have been pushing away from the commodity dairy processing industry and are interested in the smaller scale specialty dairy products. Many more dairy producers and processors have been converting over to either shipping their milk to processors to make specialty products or use their own milk to produce artisan and farmstead dairy products. Some of the specialty dairy products produced are a variety of different cheeses, yogurt, butter, and bottled milk. Specialty cheese is by far produced on the largest scale compared to any other dairy product. Specialty dairy products, especially specialty and artisan cheese, have increased production substantially in the last few decades.

The production of specialty dairy products has grown due to various factors. According to the California Milk Advisory Board, specialty cheese consumption has increased five times faster than the total cheese consumption in the past ten years. In 2003, the CMAB recorded that the United States specialty cheese production totaled 815 million pounds with an estimated value of $6.4 billion. Recently, the specialty cheese category in the dairy industry is a major factor driving the sales of United States cheese production. The specialty dairy industry is growing due to many different areas. Some reasons of the growth of the specialty cheese market are: that Americans are wanting more variety and flavor in their food, Americans are traveling abroad and wanting the unique flavor of specialty dairy products that they have had in other countries, the growth of ethnic groups and their ethnic food, and the greater availability to a variety of different and unique cheeses. Other areas of growth include specialty dairy products used in food services, restaurants, farmer’s markets, supermarkets, and ingredients in prepared foods.

Although the specialty dairy industry has been increasingly growing over the years a big question is whether it is profitable to an on-farm processor and specialty processor to produce value- added specialty dairy products. On-farm processing is very difficult to manage because of both the farm and the processing plan, and the expenses that go along with it. Many considerations and evaluations need to be analyzed before making the commitment of producing specialty dairy products. There is value in the production of specialty dairy products, but many factors and variables need to be considered because, many risk arise in the production of specialty dairy products also.