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organic living journey shredded vs block cheese

The following is part of an ORGANIC JOURNEY GUEST POST SERIES, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

Update:  After much searching and math figuring (not always strong at conversions) y’all are right that the 8 oz by volume and 8 oz by weight are the same.  The only frustrating part is even the lady at Kraft said they were different sizes… maybe we all need to brush up on conversions.  We will cover soon though why you really don’t want to buy pre-shredded cheese for other reasons.

I heard from a friend of mine a few months ago that there is more cheese in a block than if you get the same amount of cheese shredded.  This baffled me for months (yes, I get hung up on weird things!), I stood in the dairy aisle pondering how 8 ounces of shredded cheese could be less than 8 ounces of block cheese.  It is the same amount, right??  Because I trust this friend, I started buying block cheese (unless there was an amazing deal on the shredded that didn’t apply to the block).  Today, I got tired of wondering and decided to get to the bottom of this.

I took my block of cheese and shredded it.  Eight ounces yielded 3 whole cups of cheese!!  This is 1 cup more cheese than if I had bought the same eight ounces pre-shredded.  That’s a huge difference in cost!  You get 50% more for the same price.  Wow.

But I was still confused.  I called a leading cheese manufacturer and asked them about their labeling and the light bulb went on for me.  Shredded cheese is measured in volume.  Block cheese is measured by weight.

All this thinking about cheese has made me realize that the next step for my family is the whole wide world of dairy.  I am stepping in with fear and trembling (of how my pocketbook might be affected by my discoveries!), but I am ready to learn more.

So as I start researching, tell me what you are wanting to learn about going organic in this world of dairy?  What is your family doing now and loving?

    • neelyepotts

      They also add something to shredded cheese to keep it from sticking together….YUCK! We now only buy block cheese.

    • Richard Van Manen

      Wow.. will always get the block cheese from now on when they are the same price!

    • Peg

      Thank you so much! It still seems confusing — 8 ounces should be 8 ounces but I’ll take your word for it. From now on, unless I have a coupon that makes shredded cheese worthwhile, I’l be buying block cheese.

      • amysanders

        amen! 8 ounces should be 8 ounces! i totally agree. :)

    • emily

      I love organic products. But what I have learned in the 2 year journey is 1. There is organic “junk food” and 2. Organic Milk is basically worthless in nutrition b/c its pasturized at Ultra high temps :(

      • Nicole

        Not all organic milk is equal…..for example Horizon is much less pasturized than Publix’s organic milk brand

    • cathy

      I believe it settles a bit as well, so maybe you would be using a little bit less in weight and also lose a few calories as well, with probably no noticable difference in taste. Thanks for doing the research.

    • carebear

      My sister-in-law also said they add something to it to stop it from sticking. I just know that cheese should be cheese, but block shredded cheese taste better then prepacked shredded cheese.

    • guest

      Oh!!!! I got tricked by this like I used to get tricked by dry versus liquid weights to the great detriment of recipes for baking. Thanks for this tip. I still love the time savings of shredded since my hands are pretty shaky making shredding dangerous too, but the $ saving is certainly great. And the block leaves you with both options — you can have some shredded from it and still have chance to cut it in cracker-sized pieces as well.

    • sb

      We only buy block cheese. It really doesn’t take too much time to shred it. I believe organic milk tastes better than regular milk, but our budget just doesn’t have the room for it unless I find it on clearance. WE go through milk fast, so clearance milk isn’t that big of a deal for us. Coupons don’t really help with the cost either since Organic milk is hardly ever on sale for a decent price. I’m not completely organic yet, but I am trying to do more to help my family stay healthy.

    • jenn b

      I LOVE your posts about going organic, I have been doing a lot of research lately on GMO’s and organic foods, and all of the information is making me sick to my stomach. I really want to throw out every thing in my kitchen and start from scratch, but I’m not rich, so I’m trying to take it slower. Meticulously reading labels now, and only buying non GMO products. I started doing my own research b/c I just don’t feel good about what I feed my kids.

    • marysc

      Sorry, but this makes no sense. If you weigh a bag of shredded cheese that is marked 8 ounces and a block of cheese that says it weighs 8 ounces they will weigh exactly the same- unless one has been mis-weighed. There may be other advantages to grating your own but the weight vs volume thing can’t be right.
      Cheese that you grate at home may take up more or less space (be less or more compressed) than pre-shredded, based on the type of grater and how well you pack it in the cup, so if you measure it by the cup, you may end up using more or less. But 8 ounces of cheese is 8 ounces of cheese, give or take the tiny amount taken up by non-clumping agents!

      • meg

        Shredded is being sold in ounces (by volume) and block in ounces ( by weight) – same word different meanings!

        • Jen Colburn

          Shredded cheese is sold by weight the same as block cheese. It says “Net Wt 8 oz.” as opposed to fluid ounces, which is volume.

          • Chantel

            Both of these ladies are correct. Meg you are wrong. Use a kitchen scale and quit repeating words as if we don’t understand our measurements.

        • marysc

          There is no such thing as “ounces by volume”. You are thinking of fluid ounces, which measure the amount of a liquid rather than the weight. Cups and teaspoons also measure by volume, but many non-liquids are difficult to measure consistently by volume. Many bread and cake recipes now call for weighing flour instead of using a measuring cup; that’s because the method you use to put the flour in the cup can cause significant variations in the amount of flour you actually end up with. I’m guessing that the person was trying to say that the shredded cheese was sold by weight and NOT by volume, explaining why you got 3 cups of cheese and the package only has 2 cups!!

    • katkoupon

      We don’t eat a lot of dairy, but we do love dairy from our local farmers. We’ve found raw milk and butter and low-pasteurized milk and cheeses, all coming from grass-fed cows!

    • jcwmomof2

      Yes, what they add to it to keep from sticking is sawdust.(the powdered cellulose) and they add natamycin (an antimyotic which is an antibotic for mold growth) so yes, if you can buy block cheese (which DOES NOT HAVE THOSE NASTY THINGS IN IT) it is better for you, plus it tastes better too!!

    • TheChapLeigh

      RE: lilfestyle changes about organic, Non-GMO, local purchases and the pocketbook… yes it’s been a progressive process for us. I USED to think “let’s get out of our systems the yuck and make one better choice at a time”. That is so important. But now, we are of the mindset, “let’s get the MOST AMOUNT OF NUTRITION POSSIBLE INTO OUR BODIES”. One is a “remove the negative” (which is vital), and the other is “give us what our bodies need”. Milk is not milk is not milk. An apple is just not an apple anymore, either. LIterally, the nutritive value is no longer available to us, due to radiating our food, pesticides & herbicides, processing and pasturization, use of antibiotics etc etc etc. There is a device you can measure the nutrition content in fruits to see if the fruit you are eating is, in fact, giving you the vitamins you THINK you are getting. It’s shocking to learn that you are just not often recieving the benefits of “eating your greens” or what have you. It’s so diheartening that you can just throw the towel in and say, “forget it!” But you can’t, your health depends upon it.
      Just recently, I have made the switch almost entirely to Non-GMO & organic grocery items, and locally-raised & purchased grass-fed/pastured dairy, eggs, beef, pork, and chicken. I cook from scratch, can, freeze & try my best to make whatever we are eating the least harmful & most healthy option. I say that as the fam is currently eating pizza, LOL, but you do what you can do… tending to my small farm takes a lot of work, committment and energy, but we are committed to affordable & healthy choices as much as we can. Often, the hardest steps are the beginning steps, where the learning curve is steep, and it seems so costly. But, as I have learned how my grocery store runs their sales on organic items, what coupons are avaialbe to me, and what I raise/grow myself or buy locally, we are able to make it work without breaking the bank. We have learned the game, so-to-speak.
      There are soooo many books out there that have shaped our views. The most eye-opening one, however, is Weston Price’s “Nutrition & Physical Degeneration”. That and “Real Food” by Nina Plank, or “Omnivore’s Delimma” by Michael Pollack. You just cannot afford NOT to consider what you are putting into your body — even if it means making DRASTIC changes in your lifestyle to do so.

      • amysanders

        that is good perspective. quit thinking about the negative and start thinking about the positive. thanks for the encouragement…’cause this definitely takes more time and this momma gets weary.

    • amelia

      I have been reading your posts with a lot of interest as I know our family could be eating a healthier diet. The tipping point for me was watching “Forks Over Knives”, a documentary on Netflix and elsewhere. I highly recommend this video–it will change the way you look at food, organic or otherwise. We are now moving our family toward (baby steps) a plant-based diet without dairy.

      • amysanders

        baby steps are definitely the way to go! hope that this series helps some in your journey!

    • blairford

      Try asking the person working in the organic refrigerated section what day/s they do markdowns (the person working in my Kroger was happy to let me know). Marked down organic milk is often as low as or lower than regular milk and can be frozen for later if you find several gallons.

    • swashbuckler

      The packed by volume vs. weight gets most people. The cheese companies are making out like a fat rats. I buy it by the block and process it in my salad shooter and store it in a storage container. I get double the amount of cheese and it tastes better. Last time I bought shredded it had so much cellulose in it the cheese did not melt…pretty gross.

      • Chantel

        That is not correct. Use your kitchen scale. Shredded and block are both by weight. I just weighed my shredded on my kitchen scale.

        • amysanders

          Thanks for bringing my mistake to light. I am terribly sorry.

    • Sasha

      I’ve been buying organic milk since I was pregnant with our 1st child (I’m now expecting our 2nd). It is expensive, but I think worth it. I used to only buy it buy the gallon from Harris Teeter because it’s not ultra pasteurized, but due to our budget I sometimes buy the brand name ultra pasteurized organic milk if it’s on sale and/or I have coupons. I sometimes buy the milk in glass jars from Kroger (can’t remember the brand at the moment) it’s not certified organic, but from my research they follow the same standards. I haven’t been buying organic butter lately as it is very expensive. I usually buy cheese from Quail Cove Farms on the eastern shore although the cheese is from Amish Country in Ohio. It’s not certified organic but follows the same standards. I buy organic yogurt or make my own from organic milk. Dairy, produce, and meat are the three organic areas I focus on.

    • WarLlama

      Most grocery store block cheese doesn’t have any information on whether or not they use milk with growth hormone. So I have to assume that they do use milk with growth hormones in them. Most Americans are aware of milk and the marketing of milk that is growth hormone free, but what about cheese, sour cream, half and half, and all other dairy that in a standard grocery store doesn’t mention anything about growth hormone. Do these all contain hormones??

      • StephP

        I’ve wondered the same thing and came to the same conclusion. I believe that it IS made with Rbst (growth hormone) unless the package is labled that it doesn’t. I have thought about contacting Target’s corporate office. If you look on their milk and half & half, it states an “Rbst Pledge” saying that they are in agreement with their dairy farmers NOT to use Rbst, but there is no such label on their cheese! From their pledge, you would think their cheese doesn’t contain the growth hormone, but you never know. My suggestion…call the company. That’s what I’m going to do.

    • Chantel

      I’m sorry but you are 100 per net WRONG! Shredded is not by volume. The reason it seems like less is because it becomes compacted during shipping. Don’t believe me? Get out your kitchen scale and weigh your shredded cheese. I just did and guess what? 8 OSS on the dot for the shredded. I wouldn’t be so forceful about this, except that this post is still up and I saw people trying to argue with other people who pointed out how this was wrong. I’m sorry, your friend is confused and wrong and so are you. If it was 8 OSS by volume there would be 2/3 of a soda can full of cheese I. That bag or about a cup. Seriously, go weigh your shredded cheese on a kitchen scale. This post should be removed or updated. It will end up costing people money if there is a good deal on shredded and they pass it up because of this misinformation.

    • Jea

      I can’t believe that an educated person that I am never thought about how the manufacturers stopped preshredded cheese from clumping. Thanks for the info. Block cheese for me from now on. About the 8 oz. thing…. again my brain just never thought about it. I know that every time I’ve shredded my own cheese in the past that I would get more cups than expected. I thought it was just my bad shredding. I am learning alot from this going organic series. Thanks.

    • Chantel

      Sorry for the typos on my post. My iPad likes to autocorrect when it doesn’t need to. “Oz”

    • sam

      I agree with the posts that the shredded cheese is NOT being measured in fluid ounces. They are both packaged and sold by weight. I think its a difficult volume comparison unless you are shredding exactly the same way. (same size shreds, and also the shredded at home will stick together with no cellulose.) It may appear that you have much more if you are shredding it yourself!

      Please repeat your experiment and weight your 8 ounce block after it is shredded on a kitchen scale. Then weigh an 8 ounce preshredded bag.

      Since the price is often the same, I buy preshredded, but I agree it tasted much better if you shred yourself!

      • amysanders

        i will repeat the experiment for sure! the information about volume vs. weight came from one of the leading cheese manufacturer’s though.

        • SS Follower

          Repeating your “experiment” is meaningless— you never weighed the cheeses!!!!! I am sure that the manufacturer’s rep tried to explain that cheese is sold by weight not by volume. You really need to correct the horribly inaccurate stuff included in this post!!!!!!!!!

          • amysanders

            not at all, actually. the rep and i discussed the labeling in depth. i did weigh it, but am more than willing to double check and admit if i’m wrong.

    • Amy

      For all of you curious about the weight of a bag of shredded and a block of solid cheese as to which 8 oz weighs more, bring both with you to the produce dept, and put them on the scale. That will give you your answer.

    • marysc

      Even in your update above, you use the term “weight by volume”. There is no such thing. Please delete the incorrect stuff (or the whole post) so you don’t confuse people for years to come. Thanks!

    • Whitney626

      Hi Amy! Thanks for putting yourself out there and discussing this topic. I would like to learn more about where to buy organic cheese. I would love for this to be my next organic switch but I can’t seem to find any within my budget. I live in Decatur GA, and go to the decalb farmers market but their organic cheese is still expensive.

      I had heard Costco sold organic cheese but asked when I went last time and they checked all their ATL store…no luck. Any suggestions would be great!

      PS I am loving making my own yogurt! Thanks for the earlier post:-)