We've been asked to step up to the plate in myriad ways around the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is one request that most people can easily get on board with and that's to eat more cheese.
Terre de Lait is a French dairy industry organisation, and it has launched a campaign called "Fromagissons," to help producers of traditional cheeses, which it says are in great difficulty. Fromagissons is a combination of the word fromage, which is French for cheese, and agissons, which means "let's act." According to Terre de Lait, France produces over 1200 different cheeses, and it wants to ensure that they all survive the present downturn.
The campaign is urging people to eat more cheese in support of French producers, because the majority of regular distribution channels are closed, including markets and restaurants. It also says that consumers in confinement are foregoing “pleasure” foods - including their cheese platter - in favour of basic items like milk and butter.
"A significant number of producers and processing companies - especially SMEs and very small businesses - are seeing their situation deteriorate," it says. "Since the beginning of the crisis, the dairy sector has been mobilised with strong challenges and unprecedented paradoxical situations." These situations include maintaining the activity of the sector so that there is no shortage of milk, butter, cream, yogurt and cheese for consumers, and finding outlets for traditional cheeses as quickly as possible or risk losing a whole swathe of them.
The campaign is encouraging people to buy traditional cheeses like Saint-Nectaire, Reblochon, Cantal and Camembert to enjoy at home, while supporting French cheesemongers. As COVID-19 home-based activities go, this is definitely one we can embrace with pleasure.