French urged to eat more cheese after sales slump during pandemic


PARIS (KRON) – Pass the brie!

As cheese sales slump in France amid the coronavirus pandemic, the citizens of France are being told by the dairy industry to increase their cheese consumption as thousands of tons of cheese are at risk of being tossed.

France Terre de Lait, the leader in the French dairy industry, issued a statement saying sales of certain cheeses in France have dropped by a whopping 60% largely due to the closure of restaurants, markets, and cheesemongers amid the pandemic.

Additionally, officials said cheese consumption is down as people remain cautious and wary of purchasing cheese over-the-counter due to the virus.

At last check there are more than 130,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in France, with more than 24,000 deaths reported.

As a result, the French dairy industry has now launched a campaign encouraging the public to increase their cheese consumption. The campaign, “Fromagissons,” means “Let’s act for cheese.”

“The dairy industry is calling on consumers to eat cheese in solidarity with our producers of saint-nectaire, reblochon, cantal, camembert,” the statement read.

“The situation is critical and requires a rapid increase in consumption,” president of the dairy collective Sodiaal (Société de diffusion internationale agro-alimentaire) Damien Lacombe said, as reported by French agriculture magazine Agri Culture.

Michel Lacoste, president of CNAOL (Conseil National Des Appellations D’Origine Laitières), which represents 45 traditional dairy producers, told the publication that 2,000 tons of cheese should have been sold in April, and by the end of the month, there was still 1,500 left.

“If it’s not distributed by May 11, it will have gone off,” he said.

The French government is supporting farmers by offering financial compensation to those who have to cut back production and also allowing milk to be stored longer and at a lower temperature before making cheese, the Telegraph reports. 

Officials said many dairy farmers are trying to shift their focus more on butter, cream, and milk to stay in business, but if the French don’t start eating more cheese, the industry is truly “in danger.”

The “Fromagissons” campaign is similar to a call in nearby Belgium for people to eat fries at home twice a week to prevent tons of potato waste due to a massive surplus amid the pandemic.

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