The Winter Olympics are over, but in this episode of Motley Fool Answers, it's time for the second biennial Olympics of Foolishness, in which we award medals to various countries in business categories such as robotics, e-commerce, and start-ups. Which nations are leading the way in these key arenas -- and perhaps, not so key arenas? To determine the winners, hosts Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp have recruited Motley Fool Asset Management's Bryan Hinmon and Tony Arsta.
In this segment, they rank the best nations when it comes to that vital natural resource, cheese. And because taste in cheese is so subjective, the ranks are strictly on where the most cheese is produced. But no matter how you slice it, the Fools will still milk this bit for all the humor they can.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Feb. 20, 2018.
Alison Southwick: The final event! Cheese production.
Bryan Hinmon: The main event.
Southwick: In case anyone thought I was joking, Tony really did pick cheese. Why did you pick cheese production?
Tony Arsta: I couldn't think of anything important to talk about, so I thought I'd talk about cheese, because I like cheese and I like to talk about it.
Robert Brokamp: Don't we all?
Southwick: So, who gets the bronze?
Arsta: The bronze is France. Everybody knows French wines, French cheeses. France produces about 1,700 tons of cheese per year, which puts them well in the top three.
Southwick: Do you have a favorite French cheese?
Southwick: Do you love them all?
Arsta: I'm not too picky. I'm from Wisconsin, so I like Wisconsin cheese.
Southwick: Then you're kind of spoiling who's going to get the gold, here, I think. If we have any French listeners, they're probably a little upset that they got the bronze in cheese, but we'll keep moving. Who gets the silver?
Arsta: Silver goes to Germany, which actually produces 2,300 tons.
Southwick: The Muenster? No, not Muenster. What's a German cheese?
Arsta: None of these countries really stick to one kind. You've got a good mix of everything.
Southwick: Really? You can't come up with one traditional German cheese? You think you're going to put up the category cheese and I'm just going to throw softball wedges at you? No!
Hinmon: I'm starting to question this whole experiment.
Southwick: Engdahl, name one German cheese.
Rick Engdahl: I like how you used wedges, there. That was good.
Southwick: Name one German cheese, Rick.
Engdahl: What was the matter with Muenster? Isn't that German?
Southwick: I thought Muenster was German, but I'm not the cheese...
Engdahl: It's English, isn't it? I think it's English.
Southwick: I'm not the cheese expert.
Arsta: Did you expect me to do research on this?
Engdahl: I think there's a Dusseldorf cheese.
Southwick: A Dusseldorf cheese? All right.
Engdahl: I'm just making that up.
Southwick: OK, Germany.
Arsta: They produce 2,300 tons of cheese per year, which is enough to put them up there. No. 1, the gold, goes to the U.S., which produces 5,500 tons of cheese per year. More than half of that comes from two states. California produces about 1,200 tons a year. Wisconsin produces 1,600. Each of those two states, alone, is almost as large as France and would be the fourth largest country in the world if they were stand-alone. There's a lot of cheese being produced in the U.S.
Hinmon: So, when Wisconsin stages its secession argument, it centers on cheese.
Southwick: We're taking our sharp cheddar with us. Can you name a favorite American cheese?
Arsta: My favorite is just cheddar. You don't need to go too detailed into it. Just a nice sharp cheddar.
Engdahl: By the way, Muenster is French, it turns out. Alsace-Lorraine. A tiny little town called Muenster. And German cheese is unrecognizable, except for maybe Limburger.
Southwick: Limburger! Stinky cheese. But you have also a country to watch, which is very surprising.
Arsta: Yes. I think an up-and-comer, here, although they are very far down the list right now is Indonesia. There's a lot of countries making big investments in Indonesia, right now, and the president of Indonesia has said he wants foreign investment to support the dairy industry. Nestle, Mondelez, and Cargill have all made large investments or all own farms in Indonesia.
The consumption is growing by about 8% per year and we're talking about a country that is fourth in the world in terms of population. There's a lot of room for growth, there. The production of all dairy products, in general, is expected to triple between 2012 and 2020, so we're already well along the path of production growing there. It's far down the list right now, but when you look at the consumption of cheese and dairy products in general, worldwide, you're looking essentially at North America and Europe.
Southwick: It sounds like you're bullish on cheese. What percentage of one's portfolio should they allocate to cheese?
Arsta: A pretty good size.
Southwick: What wedge?