Foreign cheese increases Swiss market share

Cheese is a staple part of the Swiss diet, a fact confirmed by figures released on Thursday that show residents of Switzerland ate even more of it in 2013 than in the previous year. But foreign varieties are increasing their market share in the Alpine country.

Foreign cheese increases Swiss market share
Photo: Switzerland Cheese Marketing

Each resident ate an average of 21.05 kilograms of cheese last year, an increase of 0.8 percent or 160 grams from 2012, provisional statistics provided by the Swiss Farmers’ Union and Switzerland Cheese Marketing showed.

The figures are based on a population of 8.21 million people, which is several tens of thousands more than the previous year.

So gross volumes of cheese have outstripped the increase in the number of residents.

But the numbers show that foreign brands are accounting for a steadily rising slice of the market.

The average resident ate 14.7 kilograms of domestic cheese in 2013, up 0.4 percent from the previous year.

Average consumption of the dairy product from outside the country increased 1.6 percent to 6.35 kilograms.

But while the total amount of cheese eaten on a per capita basis has risen modestly over the past seven years, consumption of Swiss cheese has dropped from more than 16 kilograms per person in 2007.

Meanwhile, foreign cheese only accounted for an average of 4.79 kilograms per person seven years ago.

The Swiss Farmers’ Union said tastes have changed, with higher than average growth for soft cheese and cheese with semi-hard rinds, while appetites for hard cheese, such as Gruyère, have stagnated since 2005.

The SFU said Swiss residents ate notably more Swiss Raclette, Appenzeller and Sbrinz last year, compared with 2012.

Vacherin Mon d’Or and Raclette from Valais also registered slight increases in popularity, the organization said.

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