We launched the Pundit with a discussion of the importance of specialty cheese and focused on the vibrancy of the market for USA-produced specialty cheese. Well if you are expanding or establishing a specialty cheese department, a much older and extremely crucial segment is imported cheeses. And a useful ally in this field is the Cheese Importers Association of America. A lot of their work is done quietly with the Food and Drug Administration and assistance with trade negotiations, but among the ways the general industry can interact with the association is to participate in one of their educational trips, such as their upcoming 2006 SIAL Trip.
The focus is the visit to the giant trade show in Paris, but you get the camaraderie and networking intrinsic in traveling with a group in the industry, and there are many options for retail tours and events both professional and fun. I always find that traveling with industry groups adds a whole new dimension to the travel. You gain much more than traveling all by yourself.