Americans eat 33 pounds of cheese and cheese products per year, per person, which is triple the consumption rate of the 1970s. Fans of Humboldt Fog and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar may hope this signals the return of the artisan producer, but Michael Moss gives all credit to mighty Kraft and the other food giants.
“In the hands of food manufacturers, cheese has become an ingredient,” Mr. Moss writes in his new book; Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Thus we have cheese-injected pizza crusts and cheese-draped frozen entrees, cheesy chips and cheezy crackers. Cheese and its processed derivatives were deployed across a gazillion new products and line extensions during decades when Americans, as a fat-avoidance tactic, were actually cutting their milk consumption by 75 percent. From a fat-consumption point of view, he says, “trading cheese for milk has been a poor bargain indeed.”