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.
33 thoughts on “Report: Cheese Consumption Rises But No One Does Fromage Like The French”
Karen, Groty just put a link to that scene. My mom was a very light drinker. But, when she did ironing, she would drink a beer. After noon, of course.
Europeans consume 43 pounds a year of cheese. Americans consume 34 pounds a year of some processed emulsion that the heavily lobbied fourth branch of government labels as cheese.
Any wonder why we have heart disease?
Darren – at least half of that consumption is cheese food.
Remember in Benny and Joon where Joon ironed her grilled cheese sandwiches?
The low fat, high grain American Diet based on the poorly planned study of Dr Keys.
They historically used nonfat milk to fatten swine, and yet now this product, high in oxidized cholesterol, is marketed as a health food. Here in CA, there is an effort to mandate that only low fat milk be served in schools, regardless of the parents’ wishes.
And yet, they had the consensus of the scientific community . . .
Thank goodness some people started asking questions.
This just reminded me so strongly of the scene in French Kiss where Meg Ryan’s character is on a train, revealing in delicious French cheeses. Only later does she recall that she is . . . lactose intolerant.
“Some cultures are defined by their relationship to cheese.”
“Homage to fromage” Squeeky, you are an ace w/ words.
What some people will do for cheese. . . An homage to fromage:
Paul, There’s a local ice cream company in Madison called Chocolate Shoppe. They make GREAT ice cream. They have a sign that says, “We do not serve lowfat ice cream. This ice cream has high fat. If you want lowfat, eat some broccoli.” The university makes ice cream @ their dairy, also high fat and very tasty. When my kids were little I would much rather have them eat ice cream than candy.
My grandmother would put cheeses, plums, figs, dates, nuts, grapes and peasant Italian, or Eyetalian bread, for some of you folks, for a summer supper. Maybe some hard salami or soppressata. But it’s funny, as my grandma got older she stayed away from pork. She had a good Jewish friend and my grandma had deep respect for Jews. She was vain and didn’t like to wear her glasses in public. She would sometimes take me w/ her to the grocery store to read the labels to see if there was pork in products she bought. Her lasagna was meatless.
I am so very glad that I don’t live in the big cities area anymore and haven’t for about 20 years. I love my isolated rural laid back lifestyle.
However, among those few things that I DO miss is the availability of good cheeses. It was such a disappointment to go to the store and all I can find is shrink wrapped, dyed hard bricks of waxy tasteless cheese. Now when I go to visit family, I bring a big ice chest and load up on fabulous cheeses and other food items that are just unavailable in our little grocery stores.
Nothing better than a nice plate of different cheeses, fresh fruits, grapes pears apples, crackers or bruschetta, olives, salami and wine to make a great summer dinner on the deck.
There are now a couple of people in our area who make artisan cheese as a hobby and we don’t “buy” from them but rather make some trades. Like like my wild plum jam and this year lots of Santa Rosa plums too 🙂 The herbed goat cheese is to die for and one artisan makes a type of aged soft cheese like brie from her dairy cows. Melt in your mouth.
Now if we could just get a quality butcher shop. I really miss those too. Veal, lamb. Practically unknown here unless you know a rancher. I haven’t made stuffed veal breast in ages because you just can’t buy it. Same thing with pickled lamb’s tongues. Damn….I’m hungry now!
BTW, natural cheese from Arizona is like eating cardboard.
One of the major problems with American cheese is that great cheese like great ice cream requires a high butter fat content and raw milk. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota have the right grasslands for great cheeses, but two of those states are super wheat growing states. So that leaves our Cheesehead friends, who wear their headgear proudly, and we thank them.
Although, on a sidenote, I am thinking that all the cheese that the French are eating could have something to do with the attitude towards other people. It isn’t that they are stuffy, it is that they are stuffed up. 😉
One of the problems we have w/ cheese making here in the US is the nanny govt. Artisan cheese makers use raw milk. And our nanny govt. HATES raw milk. There was a local prosecution of an organic raw milk producer in Juneau County, Wi. last year. Not only did the state lose, 4 members of the jury joined the defendant’s dairy co-op!
I lived in Southern France near the Italian border for six years. I had my own table at the local bar/restaurant and lunched there every day. My favorite part of the meal was the ‘cheese plate’ at the end. Seven or eight types of cheese in various stages of aging slathered on french bread with red table wine. The most important thing to remember when eating a fresh unadulterated cheese is when. Gorgonzola is best after two days. Brie, after three days. etc. The cheese is left out, not put in the fridge.
DeGaule once remarked how difficult it was to govern a country that had over 350 types of cheese.
“I don’t speak French but I like to kiss that way.” Lt. Frank Drebin
C’est peut-etre ben le vin qui rend le fromage pas si dangereux pour les arteres en France? Moi, j’aime bien la France ayant passé 7 bonnes annees la-bas. Ma preference c’est la Bretagne la ou se trouve la plupart des megalithes. J’espere y retourner au mois de juin. L’Alsace de l’autre cote m’attire egalement…
The reason the French, Italians, Asians, remain trim is simple. They do not eat processed foods or fast food. Then we have the diet industry that fool Gruber’s stupid people into thinking there is a magic bullet. Eat less. Eat non processed food w/ balance. Exercise more. It’s not rocket science.
The United States falls below Europe in consumption at 34 pounds a year.
And much of that is probably mozzarella on pizza. Or melted Velveeta on nacho chips. Or sliced cheese on a hamburger.
American crafted artisan cheese is wonderful, if you can find it. Grocery markets usually carry the same selection of cheddar, colby, swiss, mozz, feta, brick, parm, romano, and blue, and seldom much beyond that. Cheese shops with a wide array of artisan cheeses are a rare thing.
I live in Wisconsin, a state with an abundance of master cheese makers and artisan cheese, and I can count only two excellent cheese shops in the entire state. Whole Foods makes a good run at it, but still, the selection can be spotty at times.
The health nannies have Americans believing that things like cheese will make us fat and then kill us. Which is nonsense, because a bit of cheese every day does no harm at all, compared to some of the other things we eat. But that’s what people believe, and that has the effect of lowering cheese consumption.
Never mind that America leads the world in per capita consumption of potato chips and cheetos. It’s that piece of cheese on a sliver of baguette that will kill you.
We are being defeated by the French. How humiliating.
Those of us with lactose intolerance can attest that it’s a challenge to find anything on most restaurant menus that isn’t doused in cheese.
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