Asda not pushing wider wax-free cheese rollout

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cheese

One leading British retailer is defying tradition by selling Edam cheese without its trademark red wax coating or skin as part of efforts to cut down on waste and costs, though says it is not looking to extend the focus to its other cheeses.

Asda, which is part of the Wal-Mart retail chain, claims that the launch of Go-Edam brand will not compromise cheese quality by removing the famous red wax layer before packing, but instead help to meet its wider sustainability commitments.

A spokesperson for the retailer said that the brand’s launch was seen as an opportunity to help meet the group’s commitments to cutting product waste leaving its stores for landfill by 2010. Despite the edam launch, Asda said it was not looking to remove artificial wax rinds from all its other cheese products.Asda claimed that the cheese is still manufactured and kept in its wax rind with the skin removed before packing, a move it said customers seemed to prefer to other edam products.

The cheese does not lose quality,” ​stated the company spokesperson.

Going Dutch

In tracing edam back to its Dutch roots, the country’s dairy association, Nederlandse Zuivel Organisation (NZO), told DairyReporter.com that the wax-based red or yellow coating also associated with cheese varieties like gouda was used as a form of protection during travel.

“It is a tradition, especially for the English market, to give edam a wax protection, because in former ages it was difficult to maintain a good quality on long journeys abroad,”​ stated the NZO’s Aad Vernooij.

Vernooij says the wax coating, which is sometimes refereed to as a rind, was an additional protection to natural hardening in cheese, and Asda was not the first group to remove it before sale.

He says that rind appears on all cheese products as they ripen. The natural rind is often seen in some cheese products as a slighter harder outer layer on the product.

Related topics: Markets, Cheese, Sustainability

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