Germany was the biggest producer of cheese in the EU in 2022, accounting for 22% of the overall total, new data from Eurostat has found. France placed second, accounting for 18% of the total, with Italy in third.
Overall, more than 10.4 million tonnes of cheese were produced in the European Union last year, the data showed.
Farms across the European Union produced 160 million tonnes of raw milk in 2022, which was down 0.3% on the previous year. The vast majority of raw milk (149.9 million tonnes) was delivered to dairies, the data showed, with the remainder being used directly on farms.
So who's the 'big cheese'? Let's have a look at the top 10 cheese producing countries in Europe, based on their 2022 output.
Top 10 Cheese Producers in Europe
2.334 million tonnes
Leading the pack, Germany dominated the European cheese production last year with a substantial output of 2.334 million tonnes. Germany was also the biggest producer of drinking milk and butter in the EU last year, accounting for 19% and 20% of the respective totals.
1.909 million tonnes
Boasting a longstanding dairy tradition, France secured the second spot with a production of 1.909 million tonnes, underscoring its rich tradition in cheese craftsmanship.
1.359 million tonnes
Renowned for its diverse cheese varieties, Italy claimed the third position, producing 1.359 million tonnes of cheese in 2022.
4. The Netherlands
The Netherlands showcased its prowess in dairy production by securing fourth position, contributing significantly with a cheese output of 973,580 tonnes.
Poland's production reached 925,740 tonnes last year, making it the fifth-largest producer in the European Union.
With an output of 538,210 tonnes, Spain was the sixth biggest producer of cheese in the EU last year.
Renowned for its dairy, Denmark's cheese production stood at 466,500 tonnes last year, making it a key contributor to the European cheese market.
Ireland, another country known for its dairy heritage, ranked eighth with a cheese production of 282,500 tonnes last year.
The home of feta, Greece produced 242,860 tonnes of cheese last year, making it a major producer within the European Union.
Austria rounds off the top ten with a production of 222,660 tonnes of cheese last year.
Other countries of note include Czechia (175,030 tonnes), Belgium (119,680 tonnes), Romania (102,790 tonnes), Bulgaria (97,600 tonnes) and Lithuania (93,980 tonnes). All data courtesy of Eurostat.