Move over American Cheese—diners are looking for more adventurous flavors.
Americans love cheese. So much so, in fact, that the average U.S. consumer eats 23 pounds a year—that’s way more than the occasional cheese dip. In 1970, that number was about eight pounds.
Restaurants are taking note. Today, some 90 percent of limited-service restaurants mention cheese on their menus. And it’s not just familiar varieties like Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan and American making an appearance. There’s Feta, Cotija, Asiago and more.
According to QSR Magazine, more and more restaurants are specifying the type of cheese being used in their menu items. Rather than labeling something as simply Cheddar, operators are qualifying with words like sharp, jack or white. Instead of blue cheese, menus mention Gorgonzola or Roquefort. Even the cheesemaker may be mentioned.
“Restaurants are trying to make more clear what the cheese is that they’re using and where it’s from,” said Claire Conaghan, senior account manager at Datassential, to QSR Magazine. “The descriptors for cheese have become more important. People are more adventurous than they were even five years ago.”