There is an interesting study out this week on cheese consumption that shows some surprising statistics on the consumption of food around the world. For anyone who has been to France, it will hardly surprise you that the French lead the world in cheese consumption but the amount is staggering? How much cheese do you believe that average French person eats a year?
If you guessed 57 pounds per person you are correct. That’s right, the French eat the equivalent of a small child in cheese every year. And yet they remain a remarkably fit and thin people.
The new report from the International Dairy Federation shows equally high levels of consumption among other European nations with people consuming an average of 43 pounds a year.
That is compared to the Chinese who eat less than .074 pounds of cheese per person, though cheese imports are rising by almost 25 percent a year.
The United States falls below Europe in consumption at 34 pounds a year.
One of the benefits of traveling to Europe is to try the amazing array of different cheeses. Going into the various cheese shops in French towns is one of my favorite parts of visiting the country. Few people can go back to processed cheese after such an exposure. However, I have found that our own artisan cheeses are pound for pound as good as those that I have found in Europe. There is simply more to choose from in Europe. However, in my lifetime, I have seen a wonderful change in standard grocery stores in the addition to different and better cheeses. You still have to go to high-end stores for some of the artisan varieties, but you can now generally find varieties at a standard store that simply were not available. Like wines, the American palate is becoming more sophisticated and the market is expanding with world-class varieties (assuming our government will leave them alone as we discussed earlier).
In other words, the cheese gap is narrowing.