Somehow, it has come to this: in these weird and uncertain times, French people aren’t buying enough cheese. Now they are being told they must eat more in order to save the country’s dairy industry from collapse.
According to France Terre de Lait, an industry body, sales of certain cheeses have dropped by 60 percent over the past month as restaurants, markets and cheesemongers have shuttered. They say the French public is also avoiding buying over-the-counter produce over health fears, and prioritising basic ingredients over more expensive treats such as brie, camembert and reblochon.
Producers are ‘in great difficulty’, and thousands of tonnes of cheese could be thrown away over the coming weeks, France Terre de Lait said. The president of one dairy association told Agri Culture that it had only sold a quarter of the 2,000 tonnes of cheese its makers expected to shift in April.
In an effort to boost sales of French appellation cheeses, France Terre de Lait has now launched a campaign called ‘Fromagissons’ (‘Let’s act for cheese’) which calls on the public to eat more ‘in solidarity with our producers of saint-nectaire, reblochon, cantal, camembert’.
Earlier this week, Belgian people were told to eat more chips to help struggling potato growers. Around 750,000 tonnes of potatoes are currently piled up in warehouses across the country, according to growers’ union Belgapom.
Now, we’re not usually ones to indulge in national stereotypes. But we wouldn’t be surprised at this point if governments called for Brits to eat more Cumberland sausages, Americans to double their hamburger ration and Australians to down twice as much Vegemite. It’s your patriotic duty.
More weirdness from our strange times: