It’s been a mixed bag for lovers of cheese this week. First there was the news from America that online sales had soared by a whopping 108% this year, with sales of Wisconsin specialty cheese having outpaced the entire category.
This marries up with a wider trend that points to consumers in lockdown refocusing on home comforts, something that has also seen online sales for lounge wear and streaming services reach an all-time high. Simultaneously, cheese has become the most popular comfort food, with a 52% growth in online cheese recipe searches over the same period.
But while things are riding high across the Atlantic, in the UK matters could be about to get a lot more complicated if it fails to strike a deal with the EU before the Brexit transition deadline.
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Brussels for last ditch talks, John Allan, chairman of Tesco, told the BBC that import taxes could see the price of Brie rising by as much as 40%, forcing consumers to opt for cheaper alternatives such as cheddar.
Fortunately, whichever cheese you choose, new research from Iowa State University suggests that cheese and wine are good for you either way.
According to a study of 1,787 ageing adults, cheese was found to be ‘by far’ the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, whilst daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function.
"I was pleasantly surprised that our results suggest that responsibly eating cheese and drinking red wine daily are not just good for helping us cope with our current COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps also dealing with an increasingly complex world that never seems to slow down," explains Auriel Willette, assistant professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State.
Fellow researcher, Brandon Klinedinst, suggested that the right food choices could help prevent the disease and cognitive decline altogether.
“Perhaps the silver bullet we're looking for is upgrading how we eat,” he added. “Knowing what that entails contributes to a better understanding of Alzheimer's and putting this disease in a reverse trajectory.”