• Sales of cheese in France have dropped by 60% amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • This is due to the closure of restaurants, markets, and cheese-mongers, as well as French people denying themselves cheese in favour of basic ingredients, according to the French dairy industry.
  • The industry has launched a campaign to encourage French people to eat more cheese – it’s called “Fromagissons”, which means “Let’s act for cheese”.

The citizens of France have been told it’s their patriotic duty to eat more cheese.

After a fall in sales due to COVID-19, the dairy industry has put out a collective call for French people to increase their consumption of brie, camembert, reblochon, and more.

According to a press release by France Terre de Lait, the French dairy industry, sales of certain cheeses in France have dropped 60%. This is largely due to the closure of markets, cheese-mongers, and restaurants, and quarantined people denying themselves their most pleasurable foods and instead only buying the basics.

What’s more, French citizens, wary of germs and hygiene standards, have been buying less over-the-counter cheese, The Telegraph reports.

French cheese producers are in “great difficulty” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the industry said, with thousands of tons of cheese at risk of being thrown away.

In an attempt to combat this, it has now launched a campaign encouraging the public to increase their cheese consumption called “Fromagissons,” which 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 release said.

“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.

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Sales of certain cheeses in France have dropped 60%.
Image: Dairy Reporter

The 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.

Many dairy farmers are trying to focus more on butter, cream, and milk to stay afloat, but if the French don’t start eating more cheese, the industry is truly “in danger,” according to the press release.

The “Fromagissons” campaign mirrors a call in neighboring Belgium for people to eat fries at home twice a week to prevent 750,000 tons of potatoes going to waste.