American Cheese May Be Melting Into Oblivion
And of course they’re blaming millennials.
Is American cheese – or should we say “pasteurized prepared cheese product” – melting into oblivion? And are millennials to blame for its demise?
Yes and yes, according to Bloomberg, which cites as evidence a pile of fast-food and fast-casual restaurants that are replacing the humble fridge staple for fancier fare -- like asiago (Wendy’s), real cheddar (A&W’s Canada) and other cheeses -- that are more fashionable with the younger set. They’re apparently reaping higher sales in the process.
Panera Bread is “looking to” American cheese, which may be made with some ingredients you recognize and others you don’t, “less and less,” the company’s director of wellness and food policy, Sara Burnett, told Bloomberg. The chain now uses a combo of fontina, cheddar, monteau and smoked gouda cheeses in its grilled cheese sandwich.
More evidence of processed cheese’s diminished standing? Sales of Kraft Singles and Velveeta in the U.S. have declined for the past four years and are expected to finish this year down 1.6 percent, according to data compiled by Euromonitor International. Prices and production are also falling, Bloomberg notes.
But just when you thought, perhaps, there was no hope for those good old golden squares, Bloomberg points to a countervailing force that might just save American cheese from tipping into the trash bin of history’s forgotten foods: nostalgia.
“Some trendy restaurants are going retro on their menus, hearkening back to somebody’s idea of what a classic America might’ve been like before fancy cheeses ruined the youth,” Bloomberg reports, calling the trend a “backlash to the backlash.”