The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • This expert from France tells the world about U.S. cheeses

    By USDEC Staff June 28, 2023

    Angélique Hollister loves changing misperceptions and exceeding expectations when she markets cheese from the United States.

    Angélique Hollister's friends and family in France could not understand why she would accept a job offer to promote U.S. cheeses. That was 23 years ago.

    "They practically disowned me," Hollister says with a chuckle, recalling her decision to work for the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “My French friends would look at me and say, ‘What is wrong with you? What are you doing?’“

    Hollister understood their astonishment. In a job interview with USDEC, she had the same misperception about U.S. cheeses, especially compared to French and other European cheeses. 

    "I thought U.S. cheese was processed cheese, and that's it," said Hollister, now USDEC's Senior Vice President, Global Cheese Marketing. "I had no idea about the great cheese products from this country."

    Hollister is one of USDEC's “experts on exports,” delivering daily value to the U.S. dairy industry. In a series of articles and videos for National Dairy Month, USDEC experts are sharing through videos and articles what they do and how it fuels their passions.

    Cheese map (800 × 700px) final

    With more than 600 varieties, the United States is a land of cheese, happy to share through exports.  

    In 2022, the U.S. exported a record 451,370 metric tons (MT) of cheese, the equivalent of nearly 1 billion lbs., which was 12% higher than in 2021. Because milk is the key ingredient in cheese, U.S. dairy farmers had more milk crossing U.S. borders in cheese than ever before.


    Still, old perceptions about cheese die hard. 


    "When the world thinks of cheese, they still think of France or Italy. They may think of Holland. They don’t think enough about the United States,” says Hollister, whose focus is to change those views.

    “I just love blowing people’s minds when we showcase the products we offer from this industry.”

    The U.S. is increasingly recognized not just for the quantity of its exported bulk cheeses used for pizza and other food but the quality of its artisan cheeses. 

    A public relations breakthrough happened in 2019 when The World Cheese Awards, held in Bergamo, Italy, named Rogue River Blue, made in Oregon, "Best in the World," placing No. 1 from 3,804 entries from 42 countries.

    A spectacular award like that for one U.S. cheese lifts the reputation of all U.S. cheeses shipped to global markets. 

    Credit for increasing cheese exports goes to USDEC members, U.S. cheesemakers, U.S. dairy farmers and others in the industry. Hollister's job is to tell the world their positive stories.

    USDEC created the USA Cheese Guild™, a customer-facing umbrella entity highlighting U.S. cheese products. The USA Cheese Specialist™ Certification Program is a signature initiative. The program launched when it trained future chefs at culinary schools in South Korea, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. To date, it has expanded to train 2,147people in nine countries. 


    Hollister's homeland is not among the countries being trained as USA Cheese Specialists -- at least not yet. 


    "I'm French and will always be French," says Hollister, "but I have dedicated my career to promoting U.S. cheese.”

    To celebrate National Dairy Month, the U.S. Dairy Export Council is highlighting a few of its "experts on exports" to showcase how they serve the U.S. dairy industry with skill and passion. Also see:

    Martha Scott Poindexter: This USDEC expert wants to keep families on dairy farms generation after generation

    Martha Scott thumbnail-2

    Shawna Morris: 
    Opportunity beckons this USDEC expert at the World Dairy Summit in Chicago

    Shawna Thumbnail_00038-2

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. Dairy Management Inc. primarily supports USDEC through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

    Cheese Experts on Dairy Exports
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