When facing a cheese cooler a mile long in the supermarket, it can be hard to decipher the highly processed cheese from the good stuff—especially when the word “natural” can be printed on any packaging while signifying absolutely nothing.
The hard truth is that a lot of those “cheeses” in the cheese aisle aren’t actually cheese, but food products made from cheese. So if the package says “processed cheese,” “prepared cheese,” or “cheese food,” it’s 100% not cheese. Most of the time, it hovers around 50% cheese.
At a base level, these processed cheeses begin as real cheese, but are then cut with other non-cheese ingredients. Those ingredients can include salt, food dyes, preservatives, unspecified dairy, emulsifiers, and/or other artificial ingredients.
A typical processed cheese ingredients list looks something like this: Water, Salt, Artificial Coloring, Flavorings, Lecithin, Enzyme Modified Cheese, Dehydrated Cream, Anhydrous Milk-fat, Phosphoric Acid, Albumin from cheese whey, Acetic Acid, Monosodium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Tartrate, Potassium Sorbate, etc.
These are added to melted, pasteurized cheese, which is then converted to a sliced solid, jarred sauce, spread, canned spray, etc. By the time these extra ingredients are added, the real cheese in the mix has changed significantly in terms of both flavor and texture.
Processing cheese by adding this slew of unpronounceable ingredients produces cheese that melts like a dream without becoming oily or separating—facilitating the kinds of gooey cheese pulls that populate Instagram feeds. But really, these ingredients end up in processed cheese because it lengthens the products shelf life. It’s cheaper for the producer, the seller, and the consumer. It’s about money and time.
But no matter what dietary ethos you live by, everyone can agree processed cheese is it not the tastiest or healthiest “cheese” on the shelf.
Real cheeses, like those from Reny Picot, have an ingredients list consisting of milk, salt, and enzymes. That’s it. Reny Picot cheeses are 100% real cheese.
Old Europe Cheese exclusively uses fresh Class I milk to make each and every one of our Reny Picot cheeses. The milk is sourced from one of 45 dairy farms in the region that are part of a Southwest Michigan co-op. All the farms are inspected regularly, and not just for consumer health and safety, but also to make sure the cows are well treated.