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Imports curdle mood of Swiss cheese producers


Despite the rise in foreign imports, the most popular cheeses are traditional varieties, such as the famous Emmental cheese. (Keystone) - Click to enlarge

Switzerland may be living up to its cliché as a cheese loving nation, but a growing appetite for foreign brands has alarmed local farmers.

On average the Swiss consumed 21 kilograms of cheese per person last year, compared to 18 kilograms across Europe, according to figures published by the Swiss Farmers’ Associationexternal link on Wednesday.

That amounts to a total of 182,000 tons of cheese put away by the Swiss in 2017 – a slight annual decrease of 500 tons. The association said Switzerland still lived up to its reputation as a “true cheese nation”, but bemoaned the fact that the share of imported brands has climbed to 33%, compared to a quarter in 2008.

+To be, or not to be, Swiss made

Farmers blamed the strong franc on the rise of foreign cheeses in Switzerland, according to the Swiss News Agency.

The most popular cheese among the Swiss was the soft kind. An average of 7.5 kilograms of fresh cheese was consumed by each Swiss person last year. This was followed by semi-hard cheeses (6.2 kilograms). Hard cheeses were significantly less popular (3.46kg). Goat’s and sheep’s cheeses remained the least popular choice among the Swiss (0.16kilograms).

Despite the rise in foreign imports, the most popular cheeses are traditional varieties, such as Gruyère, Raclette, Emmentaler and Tilsiter.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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