business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

America First may reflect the rhetoric de jour, but it does not, apparently, apply to cheese.

One by one, Bloomberg reports, “America’s food outlets are abandoning the century-old American staple. In many cases, they’re replacing it with fancier cheeses … Wendy’s is offering asiago. A&W’s Canada locations switched to real cheddar. McDonald’s is selling the Big Mac’s soft, orange square of American cheese with a version that doesn’t contain artificial preservatives. Cracker Barrel ditched its old-fashioned grilled cheese. So did Panera Bread, replacing American with a four-cheese combo of fontina, cheddar, monteau and smoked gouda.”

In each case, the story says, the result has been higher sales.

Indeed, the evidence is more than anecdotal: “U.S. sales of processed cheese, including brands like Kraft Singles and Velveeta, a mainstay of delicacies such as ballpark nachos, are projected to drop 1.6 percent this year, the fourth-straight year of declines, according to Euromonitor International.”

I think it says something good and Eye-Opening about the improving sophistication of the American palate … people are being exposed to more and better kinds of food, and it is having a real impact on consumption and commerce.

To be honest, I cannot even remember the last time I bought American cheese. Even when we make macaroni and cheese, it generally is with a variety of cheeses … and American is not among them.
KC's View: