There’s a major cheese surplus in America – 1.4 billion pounds of cheese. It’s enough for a cheese wheel the size of the U.S. Capitol building, the largest cheese surplus the country has seen. Multiple factors are causing the surplus. First, consumers are shunning processed cheese. Second, they’re buying more specialty, European-style cheeses in small quantities. Third, there’s an excess of milk produced at U.S. farms. And fourth, the current trade wars have dropped cheese shipments to China (down 63 percent) and Mexico (down 10 percent).

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Researchers have developed a way to identify the “flavor-giving protein fragments” in fermented dairy products. The exact taste of fermented foods has been somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Of the thousands of different protein fragments in fermented milk products, it was always unknown which protein was responsible for flavor. But new research from TUM (Technical University of Munich) whittled down those approximately 1,600 protein fragments responsible for the bitter fermented flavor to just 17. This research is important to foodpreneurs wanting to optimize flavors in their fermented products 

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Americans no longer want preservative-filled American cheese. Sales of Kraft Singles and Velveeta cheese are on their fourth year of declining sales. Consumers are looking for high-quality cheeses instead. The number of U.S. cheese factories increased 40 percent between 2000 and 2017, growth driven by small, specialty cheesemakers. Even popular U.S. chain restaurants are switching out American cheese for better flavors (like fontina and smoked gouda), new recipes that are resulting in higher sales.

Read more (Bloomberg) (Photo: Foodies Feed)

Vegan cheese artisans are mastering the flavor of nut cheeses. The process requires a fermentation cycle of 8 hours to a couple days. The longer a nut cheese ferments, the better depth and “cheesy” odor. The flavor is added during fermentation, which at Dr. Cow cheese shop in Brooklyn includes nut cheese flavors like reishi mushroom spores, blue-green algae and saffron and truffles.

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Georgia’s getting their first kombucha taproom. Cultured South will offer fermented creations to eat and drink, like kombucha tea, kefir, Jun, drinking vinegars, wild ferments, cold brew and vegan cheeses. Their grand opening in May will coincide with the 2nd annual Atlanta Fermentation Fest. Cultured South is founded by the creator of Golda Kombucha, Melanie Wade.

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As Australian farmer is converting whey from his family’s sheep’s milk cheesery into vodka. Ryan Hartshorn won Tasmania’s 2017 Young Innovator of the Year for his Hartshorn Distillery’s Sheep Whey Vodka, “believed to be the only vodka made from sheep whey in the world.”

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Check out the 2018 Good Food winners – dozens of American fermenters won, in categories like beer, meat, cheese, pickles, chocolate, cider. The prestigious annual awards honor U.S. food producers who create responsible products. Any winners in your state?

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