Cheesed off: imports take bite out of Swiss fromage industry

Cheesed off: imports take bite out of Swiss fromage industry
Photo: Switzerland Cheese Marketing
Switzerland is living proof you can have your cheese and eat it too, but a growing taste for imported varieties have the industry worried.

Swiss people remain Europe’s among cheese-eating champions and consumption is stable.

Last year, people in the country consumed 182,000 tonnes of the stuff, which means every person in the country ate an average 21.3 kilograms, or three kilograms higher than the EU average.

Soft cheeses were the most popular, followed by semi-hard cheeses and then hard cheeses.

Read also: 15 facts you may not have known about Swiss cheese

But while traditional Swiss products like Emmentaler, Appenzeller, Gruyère and Vacherin remain firm favourites with average consumption at 300 grams per person last year, imports are starting to take a larger bite of the market.

In 2017, a third of all cheese in Switzerland was imported, up from 25 percent in 2008, Switzerland Cheese Marketing said in a statement.

The Swiss cheese industry said most of these imports were cheaper varieties which provided strong competition for local products. A strong Swiss franc also added to the problem, according to the SDA/ATS news agency.

Switzerland has more than 450 different cheese varieties and almost half of the milk produced in the country is turned into cheese.