Nobody Wants Dairy Cheese, so 1.4 Billion Pounds Is Just Sitting in U.S. Warehouses

The United States is seeing the largest stockpile of dairy cheese in the past 100 years, according to VegNews.
More than 1.4 billion pounds of dairy cheese produced in the U.S. is sitting in warehouses across the country, because of retaliatory tariffs from other countries and a growing appetite for plant-based products, among other reasons. The amount of excess cheese is up 10 million pounds from last year.
Despite the large glut and the massive amount of “aged product lying around, companies are still pumping out American, cheddar, and processed cheeses, while dairy farms are producing millions of gallons of unwanted milk. In the first five months of 2017, milk producers hit a record-high stockpile of 78 million gallons.
Cheese and milk prices are falling. In fact, milk prices are down almost 40 percent since 2014, forcing more than 600 dairy farms to close this year in Wisconsin alone. In October, the world’s largest dairy company reported its first-ever profit loss. Fonterra, the New Zealand-based company, posted a $130 million loss in 2017 to 2018.
Earlier this year, America’s largest dairy company, Dean Foods, closed an Illinois facility, citing a decline in consumption. Best known for manufacturing, marketing, and distributing dairy-based products such as DairyPure and TruMoo, the company predicts more closures as consumers ditch dairy products in favor of plant-based options. What’s more, Dean Foods refused to renew contracts with a dozen dairy suppliers, because lack of consumer demand had resulted in overproduction of dairy milk.
Despite declining demand for dairy, the industry continues to produce milk and milk-based products in excess. Research published in The Guardian found that one in six pints of milk produced globally was lost or wasted, a total of about 128 million tons of milk each year.
Professor Peter Alexander of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University calculated that retailers, distributors, and consumers were responsible for roughly 66 million tons of this discarded milk. About 61 million tons are discarded during production and distribution.
Some analysts estimate that dairy waste figures could even be as high as 30 percent, double what Edinburgh University reported, according to The Guardian.
Dumping excess milk is common in the dairy industry. Just this past August, the Iowa State Fair discarded all the milk collected from the 11-day event. In 2016, U.S. dairy farmers dumped tens of millions of gallons to manipulate prices after a massive glut.
The truth is that in the name of profit, the dairy industry is not only wasteful but cruel. By generating products nobody wants, the industry needlessly puts cows through hell, while dumping milk that should have gone to baby calves down the drain.
At dairy factory farms, cows are routinely brutalized, forcibly impregnated, and kept in horrendous conditions. Torn from their mothers within hours of birth, male calves are killed for veal and most females are raised to produce more milk. At the end of their miserable and heartbreaking lives, cows are sent to a violent slaughter.
Thankfully, we can avoid contributing to animal cruelty by choosing plant-based foods. With Danone seeking to triple the size of its plant-based business, Elmhurst Dairy going completely vegan, and other dairy companies investing in alternatives, it’s never been easier to ditch dairy.