Is Cottage Cheese Finally Having a Comeback?

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: GooDween123)

Every other week or so, my roommate brings a white-and-red quart-sized plastic tub full of cottage cheese home from Trader Joe’s. A lanky dude with a ridiculously fast metabolism, he eats bowls full of it after the gym to put on muscle. I, on the other hand, am more likely to be found with the fridge door open, sniffing the contents of the tub in the morning when I’m late for work to check for signs of souring, and then sneaking a spoonful for breakfast.

Apparently, both of us are really on trend right now.

It seems like cottage cheese is finally having the comeback it deserves. Kitchn pushed for this over a year ago, and now it’s finally happening. According to Dairy Foods magazine, cottage cheese sales increased by 1.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, reaching total dollar sales of $1.1 billion. Before you get too excited, cottage cheese still only makes up only 2 percent of total dairy sales. And to put things in perspective, cottage cheese is tied with sour cream (also at $1.1 billion in sales) and lightyears behind yogurt, which rang in at $7.6 billion.

While cottage cheese’s 1.2 percent sales increase may or may not be statistically significant, its cultural re-emergence is worth noticing. It’s popping up on trendy menus, and people are writing impassioned defenses of the lumpy cheese curd product. Cottage cheese may be having a comeback for the millennial generation that remembers it heaped into a papaya half or mixed in with chunks of pineapple on a backdrop of 1980s neon colorblocking. But for some, cottage cheese never left. It’s popular among bodybuilders and the health community for its high protein, high calcium, and low fat content. It also seems to be a popular choice among people who like to champion the underdog.

(Image credit: alsis35 via Flickr)

Personally, I’m all for this curds-to-cool mission. Look what happened with kale, from decoration in the deli case to emblazoned on Beyoncé’s chest. And Brussels sprouts — once we learned how to cook them right, they went from mushy, boiled spheres to the crispy, tasty stars of Instagram. Not so long ago, we barely gave yogurt a second thought, and now there are full-on storefronts dedicated to it. So why shouldn’t cottage cheese have its (metaphorical) day in the sun?

Starting today I’ll stop sneaking shameful bites of my roommate’s cottage cheese and proudly purchase my own. I’ll admit I didn’t always do right by it, but I do like cottage cheese. I like how it’s both sweet and salty, chunky and smooth, loved and loathed. Cottage cheese is complicated, just like the best of us. And it deserves a second chance.

Do you have any favorite brands of cottage cheese that you love at the grocery store? Or any special way you eat cottage cheese? Let us know in the comments!