Over in the United States, the average American consumes nearly three times as much cheese a year as they did in 1970 – a whopping 21.9 pounds – and this is no coincidence: it’s all down to a little known organisation called Dairy Management Inc.
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The company was set up in 1994 to deal with the absolutely ridiculous cheese surplus in the United States which currently sits at 1.2 billion pounds of the stuff that is sitting somewhere in cold storage. Don’t ask me where or how that even exists because I can’t even begin to fathom that.
In order to achieve its goal, DMI has a $140 million yearly budget and works with top brands like Taco Bell, Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut to develop and market more cheese based products. They were behind the infamous ‘Got Milk?’ campaign of the late 90s and recently spent $15 million on a Superbowl advert last year for the Quesalupa, a taco with about five times the cheese as Taco Bell’s already cheesy Crunchy Taco. It worked and the Quesalupa sold 75 million during its 4 month limited release this year.
This still isn’t really making that many inroads into the gigantic cheese surplus in the country, but I suppose every little helps. It would probably help if they just stopped making it for a while, but I suppose that would put cheese farmers out of business and that could be a problem for future generations when the cheese eventually runs out.
As such, the USDA pumps a lot of money into DMI and also bailed out dairy farmers to the tune of $20 million and 11 million pounds of surplus cheese in 2014 when revenues dropped by 35%. This cheese went to food pantries though, so I’m not really sure why they can’t just send all the cheese there to get rid of it, rather than have it all sit in storage and spend $140 million a year encouraging people to try and eat it.
The whole situation is just mad – I guess that’s America for you though. For more cheese, check out this Indian cheese toastie. But be warned – it might give you a heart attack.