LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- If you haven't noticed when shopping for American cheese, prices have most likely gone down, at least according to the USDA's statistics.
The current average price of milk according to the USDA is $15.12 per 100 pounds, which would translate to lower prices for consumers.
The price drops are because of the growing surplus of American cheese.
Americans consumed more than 37 pounds per capita in 2017 but that still wasn't enough to deplete the U.S. American cheese surplus.
The 1.4-billion-pound surplus of cheese is the largest surplus of the dairy product in U.S. History, standing at 900,000 cubic yards according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The surplus began to build a few years ago when milk production began to far exceed the amount of consumption.
The USDA states that American's are drinking less milk.
In 2017, American's drank 149 pounds of milk compared to 1975 where over 200 pounds of milk was consumed in a single year.
The surplus milk is then turned into cheese where it can be stored and kept fresh longer than its milk variant.
This surplus has caused processed cheese sales to go down, which in turn has lowered its cost for consumers.
Statistics show that American's are consuming more exotic and European-style cheeses, especially Mozzerella, the most popular consumed cheese in the U.S. right now.
For dairy farmers, this decrease in consumption and sales of processed cheese will hit hard.
Until the consumption of milk and American cheeses increases or the production of milk slows down, the surplus will continue to grow.