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Cheese industry defies economic crisis

More than 62,000 tonnes of Swiss cheese were exported in 2009, 1.6 per cent more than the previous year.

Top export – once again – was Emmental AOC, despite suffering an 8.6 per cent fall in orders, according to Switzerland Cheese Marketing on Wednesday. Roughly every third kilogram of exported cheese was Emmental.

Exports to Europe saw an increase of 4.6 per cent, but those to the United States plummeted by 24.3 per cent.

Climbers included Vacherin Fribourgeois, which went up by 15.5 per cent, and the category “other semi-hard cheese”, which rocketed by 45 per cent. The organisation said this was because of increased demand for speciality cheese.

Soft and cream cheese also had a very good year, increasing by 42 per cent, but hard cheese fell on hard times, dropping by 3.9 per cent.

There was also less good news for Raclette (down 2.7 per cent) and Tête de Moine (down 5.7 per cent).

Cheese imports also rose in 2009, by 7.4 per cent to 44,100 tonnes.

These positive figures contrast with those from the chocolate industry, also released on Wednesday, which showed sales of Swiss chocolate melting by 5.9 per cent in 2009, the first fall for six years. and agencies

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