American cheese glut could spark new food trends in Canada

Food trend author says with U.S. facing cheese oversupply, industry will push product through fast food and food media. Those trends could spill over to Canada, even if the lower prices won't.

U.S. cheese industry has lotsa mozza, mucho nacho and more than its fair share of Camembert

Is cheese set to become the next bacon? Or cupcakes? Or kale? Or kombucha? We can only hope. (The Canadian Press)

For cheese lovers, it's gouda news.

A massive cheese glut in the United States — the biggest in 30 years — has cheese prices very low, and that could be the start of more cheese consumption in that country.

And while export restrictions mean Canada will not see lower prices, Toronto author David Sax, who wrote The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes and Fed-Up with Fondue, says the glut could have an impact of food trends across North America.

"When you get a big surplus like this, especially in products like American cheese, … you're going to get the money and the power of the industry trying to move that product out into the market to stir up some demand," Sax told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Sax says a recent trend that was similar, but for opposite causes, was the bacon fad that started in the last decade.

In that situation, bacon production was at an all-time low, and U.S. pork producers wanted to increase consumption.

"And they did, and they were successful to the point that we now have bacon-flavoured lollipops and bacon-flavoured bubblegum and bacon-flavoured ice cream," he said. "The price of pork bellies was at an all-time low and because of this trend called 'bacon-mania,' now there is such a high demand for pork bellies, they're no longer in surplus, they're no longer in freezers."

So how might a cheese trend manifest itself in North America?

Look for the fast food industry to market more cheese-based items, Sax says.

How long until fast food restaurants offer an even more disgustingly delicious food like the KFC Double Down? ((Dan Kremer/Canadian Press))

Even if Canadians won't see cheaper cheese, advertising and stories in the food media will build demand in this country.

"How many times have we as Canadians heard of some crazy food trend going on in the U.S. and within weeks it's being emulated in places like Vancouver and Toronto and Montreal?" he asked.

With that in mind, Sax says to keep an eye out for "a KFC stuffed-chicken cheese or some other godforsaken delicious thing."

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast