Agroscope, Grangeneuve

Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO: Consumer Study Shows Popularity of Raw-Milk Cheeses

At the new Centre of Excellence for Raw-Milk Products, Agroscope and Grangeneuve interviewed test subjects about the popularity of Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO cheeses made from raw and thermised milk. The study showed that the market potential of raw-milk cheeses has not yet been exhausted.

Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO is a semi-hard cheese variety from Switzerland with a longstanding tradition and strong ties to production in the mountain region. Nowadays the milk is usually thermised before being made into cheese. Only around 5% of Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO cheeses are made from raw milk, primarily in the alpine dairies.

Today, raw-milk cheeses are generally matured for longer than those made from heat-treated (thermised) milk.

Popularity of cheeses depends more on sensory properties than on ripeness

This study suggests that a longer ripening period is not synonymous  with increased popularity with consumers for all cheese varieties. Deviations from the desired sensory properties led to a decrease in popularity not only for the raw-milk cheese, but also for the two thermised cheeses.

Frequency distribution of the popularity rankings (n=245) of the four tested Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO cheeses (different letters = significant difference).

The majority of the test subjects were from the Fribourg region, and were likely to have been familiar with Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO. Sex and age of the subjects had no significant effect on the sensory assessment; however, Vacherin Fribourgeois PDO was significantly more popular with the French-speaking test subjects than with the German-speaking ones. In all likelihood, results would have been somewhat different for test subjects with a different cultural background, and if consumer tests had been conducted in another region.


  • Almost half of the participants rated one of the two raw-milk cheeses as their favourite.
  • With a share of about 5% of the cheese produced, the market potential of Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP made from raw milk is not yet fully exhausted..
  • Because young raw milk cheese was very popular, consideration should be given to limiting the ripening time of raw-milk Vacherin Fribourgeois.
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