Parmesan Cheese: Why is it So Expensive?

What makes Parmesan cheese so expensive?

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Is it because of the process that is used to make it, or is it simply due to the fact that demand for this type of cheese is high?

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Parmesan cheese and try to answer these questions.

We will also explore the real, fake, fresh, aged, and also the common grated parmesan cheese you can find on your supermarket shelves.

So, if you’re curious about Parmesan cheese, keep reading!

Why is Parmesan cheese so expensive?

Parmesan cheese is a type of hard, Italian cheese that is made from cow’s milk.

The word “parmesan” is the shortened translation of “Parmesano” in the early days by French. Parmigiano-Reggiano is the official name that is under the European Union’s protected designation of origin. It means the product is exclusively produced in the provinces of Reggio Emilia, Parma.

Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano are used interchangeably, but Parmigiano-Reggiano is the original trademarked name and it’s a little more expensive.

This type of cheese is usually quite expensive, with a pound of it costing anywhere from $15 to $40. As a comparison, cheddar cheese usually costs around $5 to 25 per pound.

In fact, real parmesan has strict rules to follow. With lesser than 400 total dairies, where 110 of them are located in the mountain areas, It’s hard to keep up with the increasing demand from all over the world.

The Interest of Parmesan cheese via Google Trend.

Even with the high price, It’s still one of the most popular cheese. People love its versatility, long shelf life, and of course, the taste.

The cheese is often called “the king of cheeses”, and it has a unique flavor that is often used in dishes such as pasta and pizza.

Okay, but why is it so expensive?

Parmesan cheese is made by using a centuries-old method that has been passed down for generations. With a modern tweak, the process of making Parmesan is still largely the same.

The cows that provide the milk for Parmesan are fed a strict diet of hay grown within the areas. The biodiversity of bacterial complexity is what gives Parmesan its unique flavor profile.

What’s more, no silage or fermented feed is allowed.

All of this care and attention results in a cheese that is expensive to make, but worth it for the end product.

The high price is also due to the fact that it takes a long time to age this cheese.

It takes 12 months for the wheels of cheese to be ready, and they are often aged for two years or more. Some wheels are even aged for 5-10 years!

During this time, the cheese is carefully monitored, and each wheel is cleaned, brushed, and turned regularly. In-house inspection will also make sure that the wheels are aging properly.

The long aging process is what gives Parmesan its distinct flavor and texture.

After all of this time and effort, it’s no wonder that Parmesan is one of the most expensive cheeses! But trust us, it’s worth every penny.

Do you think Parmesan cheese is worth the price?


Is Parmesan cheese the most expensive cheese?

No, indeed that Parmesan cheese can be quite expensive, but there are other cheeses that are far more expensive than Parmesan.

For example, the Serbian pule cheese made from the endangered donkey milk sells for $576 per pound – the most expensive cheese in the world. It takes 125 donkeys milking to make 2 pounds of cheese.

What is so special about Parmesan cheese?

The unique flavor profile and aroma that is the result of a centuries-old method of production. The strict rules to follow and labor-intensive production steps with extra care. They take the quality of parmesan very seriously – every single wheel needs the approval stamps from the consortium. Also, it takes really long time years to age!

Why is fresh Parmesan so expensive?

Like its aged counterpart, even the fresh Parmesan requires a lot of time and effort to make. Plus, It needs at least 12 months to be ready. Therefore, It’s technically not as “fresh” as some of the other cheeses on the market.

Why is Parmesan cheese so cheap?

Parmesan is never considered a cheap cheese to buy. However, imitation or lower quality Parmesan cheeses are much cheaper. For example, the domestic parmesan cheese or shredded variety is much cheaper than the real PDO parmesan imported from Italy.

The flavor and quality may not be as good as the real Parmesan cheese.

Also, the medium graded, downgraded, or rejected parmesan cheese will be cheaper as well. These are cheeses that don’t meet all of the requirements for Consortium, such as being a certain color or texture.

Another factor is the creameries of parmesan. The big commercialized creameries will produce more cheese often at a slightly lower price. The smaller, artisanal producers take more time to make their cheese and often charge more for it.

Other factors are the brands and seasonal demand.


  1. Parmigiano Reggiano – Regulations
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