Exports of Swiss cheese dropped 2.4 per cent in the first half of 2011, while imports of foreign varieties rose by more than six per cent.
Hardest hit was Switzerland’s biggest seller, Emmental (sometimes known simply as Swiss cheese in North America), with a decline of 17 per cent or 7,548 tons compared with the same period last year.
Officials from the dairy industry said Emmental in particular has been impacted by the strength of the Swiss franc since there are many imitations abroad.
Switzerland’s second largest export variety, Gruyère, saw its sales go down by more than two per cent.
Emmental accounts for up to 29 per cent of all Swiss cheese exports with Gruyère responsible for more than 15 per cent.
Other kinds of Swiss cheese were tasty for foreign markets: there was a 26 per cent increase in sales of Tilsiter, Appenzell and Raclette.
Cheese imports rose more than six per cent to nearly 25,000 tons, with Mozzarella from Italy leading the way, growing its Swiss market by nearly 16 per cent to 1,926 tons.
swissinfo.ch and agencies