The Los Angeles Times reports melamine contaminations and a highly lactose intolerant audience hinder the success of small cheese factories in China, but artisans say demand for cheese in the country is growing.

China’s expanding middle class has increased demand for foreign goods. Artisan cheese makers like Liu Yang predict cheese will be the next foreign product that will be unpopular in the first two years, and then build. Wine and coffee have followed similar trends in China.

Several factors could slow the cheese business in China. There is no cheese-making tradition apart from the Mongolains and Tibetans and 90% of the population is lactose intolerant. Recent dairy scandals and poor education about dairy products have also limited the industry’s growth.

Although the demand for cheese is currently filled by emigrants and early adopters, locals are slowly developing a taste for cheese. Cheese and Wine, a store in Beijing selling foreign goods, opened eight months ago and Chinese customers make up half of the store’s clientele.

The country’s growing middle class with curiosity about foreign goods and money to spend has created a bright future for cheese.

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Source: The Los Angeles Times