Super slice: How pizza changed Wisconsin’s cheese industry


The cover story for the Fall 2013 issue of Grow magazine, titled “The Power of Pizza,” traces the impact of the nation’s growing love for pizza on Wisconsin’s cheese industry over the past few decades.

In a nutshell: It’s been huge.

Forty years ago, for instance, cheddar was the state’s big cheese, and mozzarella was just a specialty cheese made by a few firms that focused on Italian varieties. Today, however, at least 85 percent of the state’s milk goes into cheese, a third of which is made into mozzarella, the vast majority of which ends up on pizza.

Researchers with the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and the UW’s food science department have played an important role in helping Wisconsin cheesemakers shift gears–and they continue to work with them to grow demand for pizza cheese by developing new varieties for specialized and international markets–including in China, where the “ideal” pizza cheese is quite a bit different from what we’re used to.

Read the full story here.