x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Don't just say 'cheese'

Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes: we like it thin and cheesy.

On the surface, it seemed liked a strange thing to hear from the managing director of Kraft Foods GCC. In an interview with The National published yesterday, Vishal Tikku said of the company's flagship product: "Most of the world says, 'but this is processed cheese, which isn't the best cheese'." But, he was quick to add, it's a taste that people in this part of the world - and elsewhere, including the US and Australia - really like.

Mr Tikku was stating what we already know. Kraft's processed cheese is certainly not in the same league as the best handmade English cheddars. But it is a quality product particularly suited to export, as it doesn't require refrigeration. It is also reassuringly familiar, having been available in what is now the UAE since 1915.

The enduring success of Kraft Foods comes down to the simple fact that generations of people in the Gulf states have grown up eating and enjoying its products. Call it what you will, but we call it comfort food.