6 Grocery Chains With the Best Cheese Departments
America's cheese business is booming. According to Statista, 6.35 million metric tons of cheese were produced in the United States in 2022, making it the highest recorded number since 2013. Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin—nicknamed America's Dairyland—leads the states in total cheese production with California close behind.
Many of the nation's top grocery chains are putting increased emphasis on their cheese offerings, too, with companies like Whole Foods hiring a global cheese expert and Kroger purchasing the famous New York City cheese shop Murray's Cheese.
That's why we rounded up six grocery chains with top-tier cheese departments—so that your weekly charcuterie board is always on point.
Wegmans sources artisanal cheeses from around the world and even has its own 12,300-square-foot cheese aging-facility with seven "ripening rooms" to properly nurture the selections before they hit store shelves, according to the grocer's website. The effort is getting results: Wegmans' unique washed-rind cheese, Sake 2 Me, made with Japanese rice wine, won a bronze medal at the World Cheese Competition in 2019. "Best cheese I ever had," one Redditor raved of the grocer's selection, describing it as "reasonably priced" and "a great assortment."
Whole Foods has 300 certified cheese professionals in stores, not even counting the hired cheesemongers. According to the grocery store's website, customers are allowed to sample the cheese, cut any size needed, and can custom order a cheese platter. The site Cheese Professor ranked the Cypress Grove Midnight Moon and Roth Buttermilk Blue are some of the chain's best offerings.
Aldi cheeses have somewhat of a cult following. The discount grocer developed its own store-brand Happy Farms, which provides cultured dairy products without added hormones, according to National Milk Producers Federation's Real Seal site. Reddit users are big fans of the chain's grated gouda, vintage Irish cheddar, and cranberry white cheddar. Aldi offers dozens of selections, and you can grab many of the specialty items on Instacart.
If you're a regular Trader Joe's shopper, then you probably know all about the specialty grocer's tasty cheese section. One noted cheese expert commended the grocery chain for its vast sheep's milk cheese selection, according to Business Insider. Trader Joe's has carried innovative products from pizza bread cheese to a triple cream brie cheese with green peppercorns in addition to the classics, including burrata, blue cheese, cheddar, and more. America's Test Kitchen also rated the store's best cheeses, with a customer favorite being the Unexpected Cheddar.
Anyone who lives in New England knows about Stew Leonard's. The regional supermarket chain creates its own line of dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and the most important of them all—specialty cheeses. Stew Leonard's makes fresh, house-made mozzarella daily at its location in Norwalk, Conn., which carries the title of "world's largest dairy store," awarded by Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Kroger partnered with New York City's renowned Murray's Cheese shop for years before fully acquiring the company in 2017. The grocery chain now operates over 1,000 in-store cheese shops under the Murray's banner, each offering over 150 styles of cheese. "Went to a new grocery store and found heaven I think," one Redditor gushed after stumbling upon one of the Kroger-Murray's cheese counter and posting a photo, adding: "this isn't even a 1/3 of the entire selection."