Swiss cheese exports were up last year, especially towards the European market, the Switzerland Cheese Marketing body announced on Friday.
The boosted (+7%) importance of the European market comes as exports to the rest of the world fell slightly (-3.2%) in 2019, a trend that the marketing body said(PDF) was caused by global uncertainty about trade disputes.
In total, 75,877 tonnes of cheese were exported last year, an increase of 4.5% on the previous year, for a value of CHF667.6 million ($693 million).
Over four-fifths of this total went to European countries. Germany represented the destination for a good half of Swiss cheese exports; France and Italy were next biggest markets.
A little under half of all Swiss cheese exports are hard varieties (e.g. Appenzeller).
Imports of cheese were also higher last year, growing by 2.8% to 64,129 tonnes. Over four-fifths of this comes from Italy, while the most popular import varieties are fresh cheese, mozzarella, and quark.
In Switzerland, around 45% of all milk produced is made into cheese, of which the country boasts over 700 types. Some 40% of this is then exported, with rest staying at home.