What is Specialty Cheese?

When the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute was formed nearly 20 years ago, one of its biggest challenges was defining what was then a fairly new category of cheese. The definition set by the first board of directors has evolved into the following working definition, recognized by many as the industry standard.

“Specialty cheese is defined as a value-added cheese product that is of high quality and limited quantity. A cheese product can be said to be of high quality if it commands a premium price, is of exotic origin, has particular processing, design, limited supply, unusual application or use, or extraordinary packing or channel of sale. A specialty cheese type cannot have a nationwide annual volume of more than 40 million pounds.”