Nixon's Lunch Plate of Cottage Cheese and Pineapple

Trendspotters Say Cottage Cheese Is Ready for a Comeback

Yogurt Soared, Cottage Cheese FellOn Richard Nixon’s last day in the White House, cottage cheese was at its peak. Since then, it’s been four decades of decline for this high-protein, savory treat. In the seventies it was the quintessential ingredient for a diet plate. No wonder it took a dive.

Now trendspotters keep saying it’s on its way back as an artisan food for hipsters.

Resistant to Mass Production

The diet plate image wasn’t the only strike against cottage cheese. Yogurt soared because of clever, health oriented marketing and mass production by big food companies. Dannon took the U.S. market by storm with tales of people living well past a hundred years, enjoying their yogurt.

Meanwhile, mass-produced cottage cheese was a terrible product. It was rubbery, flat, and stabilized with starches and gums. Yuck!

Enter the Artisans

Artisan producers and smart marketers are experimenting with ways to give cottage cheese a makeover. For example, Cowgirl Creamery in California is hand-making small batches from certified organic, grass-fed dairy. They’re selling it on a regional scale for more than three dollars per serving. Cheesemonger Kate Arding describes the reaction people have to really good cottage cheese:

They’d taste it and get this glassy-eyed look. You could see their faces just change.

At the other end of the spectrum, big producers like Dean Foods are looking for packing and product quality innovations to create a mass market sensation.

Will it change the dynamics? Hard to say. But cottage cheese has good nutrition and loyal fans going for it. Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth writes that she bleeping loves the stuff. Maybe that will catch on.

Click here to read more from the New York Times, here for more from NPR, and here for more from Jezebel.

Nixon’s Lunch Plate of Cottage Cheese and Pineapple, photograph © Robert Knudsen / Nixon Library

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June 28, 2018