Gruyère can be produced in the United States, Switzerland protests

The name “gruyère” is no longer reserved for Switzerland or France. The United States also have the right to use the term “Gruyère” to name the cheese they make. American justice gives reason to its local producers who refused that the label “gruyère” be protected. A setback and a heresy for Swiss producers and the interprofessional union of Gruyère, on the French side, who intend to appeal this decision.

When we say that Gruyère equals cheese, it is not at all true. if you walk around the American market, you won’t find all the cheeses called Gruyère on every street corner, you have a few products that have this name but it’s not at all generic as claimed in this case” emphasizes Philippe Bardet, director of the Gruyère inter-profession in the canton of Fribourg.

For American justice, Gruyère across the Atlantic has become a “generic” term, which prevents its registration in the trademark register in order to certify its authenticity. Gruyère, originating from the eponymous Friborg region, therefore finds itself in competition with a product of the same name but totally different:

On the American side, it’s a different perception of the thing. We in Switzerland talk about a protected product, they talk more about a brand. So there is a distortion in the way of perceiving the thing“explains Florie Marion, Spokesperson for the Federal Office for Agriculture.

For Swiss or French producers, real Gruyère “is made from local and natural ingredients, it uses traditional methods that ensure the link between the region of origin and the quality of the final product”. And to explain that cheese made in Wisconsin cannot replicate the unique taste of real Gruyère made in Switzerland or France.

These last two years, which were very complicated in America as at home with the Covid, we have experienced two years of record exports, so we can clearly see that the informed American consumer wants the real product.“says Philippe Bardet, director of the Gruyère inter profession.

The American market has for years accounted for a large share of Swiss Gruyère exports. In 2021, a record was reached with 4,000 tonnes sent across the Atlantic out of the 32,000 tonnes sold.


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