Cheese consumption is on the rise across Asia, according to the U.S Dairy Export Council. Asia is an important market for U.S. cheese consumption. It accounts for 37% of the 287,000 megatons of U.S. cheese exports worldwide. The most popular cheeses in Asia are cheddar, mozzarella for pizza, and cream cheese. Interest in unique to the U.S. specialty cheeses such as Monterey Jack, Colby, and Pepper Jack is increasing.
At the recent FHA – Food and Beverage 2023 in April, we spoke to Jason Donnelly, Founder, American Cheese Company to learn more about American artisanal cheeses and his experience at the event. With Asian markets dominating high-end purchases of wines, caviar, and other premium specialty food items, importing exceptional fine cheeses is the next logical step. The American Cheese Company was created in 2015 to export American artisanal cheese and products from the US to the rest of the world.
Q: How was your experience at FHA?
Coming to FHA was a pretty easy decision. We have been here once, pre-covid and I wanted to come back to meet some of the people I met in 2018 and start to bring some of my products back to the market. I think now is a better time than 2018.
Q: How do you think the market has changed compared to 2018?
“When I first came here in 2018, the market was interested in the products, but now the market is hungry for the artisanal cheese products.”
I having been selling artisan cheeses for 7 years. When I first came here in 2018, the market was interested in the products, but now the market is hungry for the artisanal cheese products. US Dairy Export Council and California Milk Board have been in the market for years and they have been promoting the quality of milk and cheese that America makes. This has changed the mindset of not just Singaporeans, but also consumers in Southeast Asia.
Q: How do you find the quality of attendees?
“Singaporeans are probably one of the biggest foodies in the world and when you give them a quality product, they know it right away.”
The quality of people who attend FHA has been amazing. They come and they are hungry for cheese. Singaporeans are probably one of the biggest foodies in the world and when you give them a quality product, they know it right away.
Q: Share with us your favourite cheese
It’s hard to single out one product as it’s like asking a mother who her favourite child is. They all have their own personality. They’re from different states across the United States so that means that the milk, the grass and the cheese flavour is going to be different. A huge country like America has a huge diversity of terroir where the cows are grazing, so it’s more of what’s my preference at the moment.
The cheeses I carry are all from small family-owned farms. The animals are grass-fed, some of them are organic, some are free-range. I have one in Georgia that doesn’t have a barn, the animals live outside, 365 days a year. Some of the farms buy milk from a different producer, but it’s just one single source and the milk is made for that dairy. These are all handmade products.
Looking to expand your business into the Asian market?
FHA – Food and Beverage returns next year on 23-26 April 2024 at Singapore Expo. With a line-up of leading global suppliers, industry professionals can anticipate the most extensive showcase of trending F&B and hospitality products and solutions, cutting-edge technologies for food & drinks manufacturing, and more at the mega event. Contact us to get involved.