Real California Cheese Facts

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  • California produced 2.5 billion pounds of cheese in 2017 and is the second-largest cheese-producing state in the U.S. (CDFA)
  • California is the country’s largest milk producer and in 2017 produced 39.8 billion pounds of raw milk. Approximately 46.2 percent of all California cow’s milk goes to make California cheese. (CDFA)
  • California has more than 50 cheesemakers who produce over 250 different varieties and styles of cheese. 
  • California cheese production in 2017 was, by major types of cheese: 58.6 percent Mozzarella, 14.1 percent Cheddar, 11 percent Monterey Jack, 5.4 percent Hispanic and 10.9 percent other cheese varieties. (CDFA)
  • Per capita cheese consumption has increased by more than eight pounds since 1990, more than 15 pounds since 1980, and more than 23 pounds since 1970. (USDA)
  • California leads the nation in Mozzarella production at more than 1.4 billion pounds in 2017. (CDFA)
  • California also is the largest producer of Hispanic-style cheeses, producing over 135 million pounds in 2017. (CDFA)
  • California produces more Monterey Jack than any other state. Monterey Jack is a “California Original,” a descendant of a type of cheese produced in the California missions more than 200 years ago. In 2017, California produced 277 million pounds of Monterey Jack cheese. (CDFA)
  • In 2017, California produced more than 355 million pounds of Cheddar cheese. (CDFA)
  • California produces 100 types of spiced and flavored cheeses.

Cheese products with the Real California Milk Seal are available in supermarkets and specialty stores throughout California and the U.S. Use the Real California Milk product locator to find products at a store near you: