People love cheese. We eat it on toast, crackers, pizza, in soups, as a stand-alone appetizer, with wine, as a dip and hundreds of other ways. There are so many cheese recipe books that’s it’s impossible to keep count. For as long as there has been a written history of the human race, and likely long before that, we human beings have been in love with cheese in all its delicious varieties. So, when you make a list of the top cheese-based foods and snacks, there’s plenty to choose from. Food industry gurus are a big help, though, because they keep track of all this stuff and can point directly to sales and survey data to reveal the answer to the big question: What are the top five cheese-based foods and snacks in the U.S. today? Here’s the full list, in no particular order:
For nearly 50 years, pizza has been one of the top two foods that consumers opt for when they eat out. Number one on that list is fried chicken, by the way. But when it comes to cheesy foods that have their own billion-dollar market niche, pizza takes the cake, so to speak. One of the most important sub-trends to take place within the segment in recent years is fast-food pizza. No longer do you have to visit a pizzeria or specialty restaurant to enjoy a slice of cheesy deliciousness. Nowadays you can pop into the local convenience store or service station and take your pick of by-the-slice delights.
Paired with Crackers
An age-old standby of the college crowd and wine tasters everywhere, cheese and crackers is almost a national dish. Even vegans get to enjoy this salty, cheesy treat because of the fast-growing non-dairy cheese market. Products like Miyoko cheese and others are hugely popular on college campuses and kitchens as millions of consumers opt for vegan snacks.
The American classic has never really died out, though it did suffer a temporary decline in popularity during the rise of the health-food craze in the late 1990’s. Now, it’s back and better than ever. There is even healthy version with whole wheat bread, vegan butter and non-dairy cheese. The venerable mini-meal is actually transforming itself to adapt to modern culinary preferences. Grilled cheese sandwiches will never go out of style.
There must be a thousand kinds of cheese dips, including the stalwart and best-seller of the group, nacho. No party, soiree, gala, museum opening, or tailgater is complete without at least two different flavors of cheese dip.
Cheese burgers are not only a meal in themselves but are a cultural landmark. The term “cheese burger” has even gained eternal fame as a comedy tagline, made popular by the legendary John Belushi in a 1970’s routine. How can you go wrong with meat, bread, cheese and assorted toppings like mustard and ketchup? Cheese lovers typically double up and add extra slices to their burgers, but everyone seems to enjoy a well-made cheeseburger every now and then.