Attendance has steadily increased with each event – up to 3,500 people from around the world are expected to attend the expo this year.
The show features 524 booths and 279 companies, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association John Umhoefer told DairyReporter.
“We’re very comfortable saying it’s the largest cheese expo in North America. It’s everything from the makers of vats, ingredients and software,” Umhoefer said.
He added that the show attracts a diverse audience.
“We do get the corporate leadership, we tend to get the production staff, we tend to also get marketing and quality assurance departments.”
One of the major trends the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has seen is that dairy farmers are taking cheese manufacturing into their own hands and producing it themselves. There has also been an uptick in specialty cheese sales, including smoked and pepper cheese, in addition to the emerging popularity of goat and sheep milk cheese.
“It’s not just the traditional manufacturer any more. That’s one reason we (ICTE) set up the artisan cheesemaking workshop,” Umhoefer said.
The Artisan Cheesemakers Master Workshop is a two-day training event where participants will get hands-on experience of the cheese-production process with the assistance of professional artisanal cheesemakers.
Hilmar Cheese Company CEO and president David Ahlem will give a presentation on “Growing Opportunities in the Worldwide Dairy Industry” during the opening address.