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All that cheese

Swiss consumers scorn their own cheese

Shoppers appear have lost their appetite for home-grown cheese and imports of foreign cheese varieties for the first time outnumber exports.

In June the trade balance was 445 tons in favour of imported cheese, according to a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

Demand for the traditional Emmental and Tilsiter has dropped gradually over the past years. Exports of these varieties by about a third between 2000 and 2013.

However, imports were given a boost as a result of the liberalisation of the cheese trade between Switzerland and the European Union in 2007.

“The imports of cheap cheeses goes mainly towards the production of convenience food and to restaurants,” a spokeswoman for Switzerland Cheese Marketing is quoted as saying.

The cheese industry hopes to whet the appetite of consumers by a publicity campaign at home and by a special product label for Swiss cheeses abroad.

The report comes as Swiss cheese exporters apparently benefit from a Russian embargo on cheese exports from European Union countries.


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