USDA’s “Commercial Disappearances” figures are out, for November 2009, and it shows a drop in American type cheese of 7.7%, when compared with November 2008. American type cheese is primarily Cheddar and Colby, not processed American plastic cheese.
For the period September through November USDA shows a drop in “Commercial Disappearances” of American type cheese of 1.4%.
USDA uses data submitted by processors. On the other hand, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) provides scanner data of information passing past scanners in supermarkets, which is then fed through computers to IRI.
IRI reports American type cheese sales increased by 11.9% in the September through November period.
My guess is the IRI data is more accurate than the USDA data. Perhaps what is needed is a NCIS (for National Cheese Identification System) with edible chips, which would disappear with no added calories after its usefulness had been served.