U.S. Dairy Products > Cheese > Cheese Categories

Processed Cheeses

Varieties include:processed cheeses

  • Pasteurized Process Cheese
  • Pasteurized Process Cheese Food
  • Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread
  • Pasteurized Process Cheese Product
  • Cold-Pack  

Manufacturing Process

Pasteurized process cheese is made by mixing and heating natural cheese. The cooking temperature depends on whether the end-product is process cheese, process cheese food or process cheese spread. Cold-pack cheese, which is similar in many ways to process cheese, is not heated during processing. Another type of process cheese, pasteurized process cheese product, meets different moisture and fat levels from that of pasteurized process cheese spread, and unlike the others mentioned above, it has no Federal Standard of Identity.


Process cheeses typically have a longer keeping quality compared with natural cheeses. Shelf-stable process cheese products are also available, which may not require refrigeration. Process cheeses are usually selected for their uniform flavor and performance. They are available with a wide range of melting and slicing characteristics and in a variety of color and flavor intensities, forms and package sizes.  

Key Applications

Process cheeses are used in nearly every application where natural cheeses are used, including cheese snacks, soups and sauces, baked goods, cheese stuffed entrées, sandwiches, vegetables in cheese sauce, meats, microwaveable foods, and casseroles. Reduced- or fat-free types of process cheeses are ideal in processed food applications such as fat-free soups, sauces, appetizers, baked and microwaveable entrées.

Marketing Benefits

Superb product consistency ensures consumer satisfaction; repeat sales. Ingredient customization offered by suppliers facilitates end-product differentiation. Good nutritional properties and enrichment possibilities add extra appeal and value. Smooth texture and mild taste have strong appeal to children. Deliver "cheese appeal" in shelf-stable products.  

Key Benefits in Foodservice and Prepared Foods

Process cheese products can be custom designed to deliver specific melting properties: from no-melt types to products designed for sauces and dips. The wide variety of formulations delivers cost-efficient solutions in fast-food applications. Premium process cheese products offer uniqueness and lend themselves well to high quality, consistent food preparations. Extended shelf life provides cost advantages.