If you want to know why artisan cheese is more expensive than other kinds of cheese, it’s because quality handcrafted cheeses take longer to produce. Once you’ve tasted handcrafted artisan cheese though, you’ll be spoilt!
Other mass-produced cheeses pale in significance compared to a lovingly made quality cheese. The flavour and texture is far more intense than any supermarket plastic wrapped cheese.
Once you’ve tried artisan cheese you’ll never make toast or lasagne using cheese slices again! I have nothing against them as they’re a great standby if you’re in a hurry and have hungry mouths to feed. However, for that extra special meal, nothing beats the luxury of artisanal cheese.
Why is Artisan Cheese More Expensive?
Mass produced cheese is less expensive as methods used in production are much faster. Large dairy farms usually have greater reserves of cash needed in times of downturn and to cover debt. In contrast, smaller businesses don’t always have enough cash reserves to survive market fluctuations.
Some artisan farmers are affected by the seasons, especially if their cows are only grazing on pastures in summer months. Fuller, sweeter flavour comes at a cost. With no production during winter the farmer still has to make a profit to survive.
Smaller batches means higher labour costs.
If you’re producing handmade cheese, you’ll be lavishing care and attention not found in mass production. This comes at a price though as turnover is slower. Creating small batches costs more.
Slow pasteurisation methods means production is a lengthy process. Added to that, cheese made from raw milk must be aged for 60 days. Aging handmade cheeses requires more care and the time spent sitting on shelves costs money. It can cost three times more to age any artisan cheese than those which are massed produced.
It costs around 20 cents a pound to produce cheddar in a large scale dairy farm, compared to around 4 dollars a pound at a small scale dairy farm producing artisan cheese. This is a significant difference and prices have to reflect this if the business owner is to make a profit.
Packaging is More Expensive
Instead of plastic wrapping used on most massed produced cheeses, artisan cheeses are wrapped using cloth. The quality and type may vary, but cloth will be more expensive. Labeling has to be taken into account as well. Handmade labels with a company logo can be costly.
Shipping Costs are Higher
Small scale cheese making businesses, where products are perishable, tend to use carriers like Fed Ex. Rising fuel prices have an effect on shipping costs, reducing the profit margin on sales. Naturally, this has to be passed on to the customer.
However, despite these added costs the popularity of artisan cheese is growing. It could be that consumers are becoming more educated in the taste of finer foods.
Artisan Cheeses are Like Fine Wines or Freshly Ground Coffee
In the same way coffee lovers choose freshly ground coffee over instant, those who’ve developed a taste for fine cheeses opt for artisan types. There will always be a market for mass-produced cheese as it is convenient and less expensive. There is a growing number of people, though, who are choosing to buy handmade cheeses made using traditional methods.