SEOUL, Korea, Nov 04 (Korea Bizwire) – The Rural Development Administration and the Ranch-type Milk Processing Research Group will jointly hold a contest to make natural cheese at the government agency’s Suwon campus on November 1. The ranch-style natural cheese-making competition has been held annually since 2006 to promote ranch-made natural cheeses and other dairy products. Natural cheese is made of 100 percent milk. In contrast, processed cheese contains only about 60 percent of milk and the rest consist of milk powder, water, and salt to ensure a longer shelf life.
Korea’s milk consumption is on a downward trend while that for cheese is rapidly on the rise. But most of the cheese consumed in Korea is imported, which is why cheese promotion is needed at this point. Per-capita cheese consumption in 2012 was 2.0 kilograms (natural cheese 1.5 kg and processed cheese 0.5 kg), up from 0.94 kg in 2000. During the same period, per-person milk consumption has declined to 28.1 kg from 30.8 kg. Given other countries in the West consume much more cheese–20 kg in Europe and 15 kg in the United States, Korea’s cheese consumption is expected to rise further.
The annual natural cheese contest has been instrumental in improving the quality of natural cheese. Chang Mi-hyang, president of Hanette Cheese and chairman of the Ranch-type Milk Processing Research Group, said, “Ranch-made dairy products are ideal for small-scale operations that are perfectly fit for the 21st century local food culture. If dairy farm operators can produce milk and other dairy products while offering tourism opportunities to urban dwellers, it is in line with the government’s plan to transform the agriculture business into a new future industry.”
The fact that more and more dairy farmers are showing interest in making natural cheese in their own premises is a positive development for the dairy industry as a whole. Jeong Seok-geun, research fellow at the National Institute of Animal Science within the Rural Development Administration, said, “In order to encourage production of natural cheeses and increase variety, we will keep working on R&D in this area and share research outcome with the farmers.”