The people of France are being encouraged to eat more cheese as sales of traditional cheeses have plummeted more than 60 percent during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a press release that was previously reported on by Insider, France Terre de Lait, AKA the French dairy industry, highlighted the issues cheesemakers are facing as food industries around the world struggle similarly. In a translated version of the release, they say that people have “shunned ‘pleasure’ foods—including their cheese platter.” They also noted that the industry is seeing a shift in demand—suppliers are rushing to keep things like milk in grocery stores but have seen a surplus of things like cheeses because of restaurant and open-air market closures.
The release mentions traditional and delicious French cheeses like Saint-Nectaire, Reblochon, Cantal, and Camembert as just a few of those affected. As such, they’ve launched a campaign called #Fromagissons, a contraction of the words “Fromage” and “Agissons” which translates to “Let’s act for cheese.”
The campaign is designed to call on French people to begin purchasing more cheese in an effort to help out dairy farmers and traditional cheesemakers stay in business. They are also asking those in the dairy industry to work together to make changes and keep the supply chain moving.
“It is all the women and men in the sector who can reorganize and work together so that France remains that of 1,000 cheeses,” the release said.
A plan to re-open markets in France on May 11 could help ease the blow, but that is the same date that Michel Lacoste, president of CNAOL, an organization that represents 45 traditional dairy producers in the country, told publication Agri Culture that cheese supplies are set to expire.
“Two thousand tonnes of cheese were to leave our cellars in April, we still have 1,500. If they are not distributed before May 11, they will be out of date,” he said.
For now, Lacoste told the publication Les Echos that cheesemakers are looking for ways to sell their excess products “inexpensively in order to give them to the poor” in addition to the marketing call for people to purchase traditional cheeses from local grocery stores. If you’re in France, you know what to do!