Special Report

Cheese consumption holding its own

When the economy took a dive last fall, one of the first areas to take a hit was restaurants, especially the higher-line “white tablecloth” restaurants. That caused some concern for the cheese industry because those restaurants used a lot of cheese, especially specialty cheeses. As we look back over the past six months or so, we actually find cheese consumption has held its own, in fact, it has increased a bit. Matt Joyce with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board says cheese is one of those “value foods” that consumers see as a good source of nutrition for the dollar. “The dairy industry as a whole has spent a lot of time for a number of years talking to consumers about the importance of dairy in the diet and those messages are ringing true with consumers today.”

Another characteristic of the current situation is that while people are doing more cooking at home, they are still looking for those new and fresh tastes and flavors that they were seeking out in restaurants a year ago. “They want to explore taste,” says Joyce noting the more than 600 different varieties of cheese made in Wisconsin. “That’s why we have launched a micro-site on the web; a micro-site is an area that talks specifically about different food products and this one is entitled cheese and burger society.com.” It talks about a lot of the varieties we have and pairs those varieties with different recipe and menu ideas.

Dairy also continues to seek new products and uses through research and development for everything from new cheese varieties to the use of chocolate milk as a recovery drink

AUDIO: Matt Joyce talks about cheese consumption 4:46

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