I wonder, Dear Reader, whether you’ve heard of Irene Rosenfeld. No? Are you sure? She’s known as the Queen of Cheese. Mind you, she’s known as that in the USA so it probably doesn’t count. I mean have you tasted American cheese? It would make the French weep. It’d even upset the Italians, and we all know Mozzarella di Bufala and Pecorino aren’t all that amazing to begin with.
Even more insultingly to cheese lovers everywhere, the reason Ms Rosenfeld is known as the Queen of Cheese is that she is the chief executive of Kraft. Kraft who make those awful plastic “cheese” slices that burger vans lob on your quarter pounder at 2am on the way home from whatever den of iniquity you’ve been in. Kraft who manufacture Cheez Whiz to spray out of a can.
These are the kind of products I loathe as a fan of real cow, sheep, and goat’s cheeses. I can happily while away my time wandering around farmers’ markets sampling the different varieties and taking home far too much of the stuff. Still, it’s an excuse to get some red wine.
Kraft make a lot of dubious cheese products (along with, it must be said, Philadelphia which is really handy stuff), but in this country they’re best known recently for their takeover of our beloved Cadbury’s.
You’ll remember, Dear Reader, the rather ignominious way the takeover of Cadbury happened. Kraft made a number of promises, including keeping the factory in Bristol open, as part of the deal. They promptly closed that factory, scrapping hundreds of jobs, and moved the bulk of production to Switzerland, dodging £60 million a year in UK taxes.
Ever since that closure, the Commons Select Committee on Business, Innovation, and Skills has tried to get Rosenfeld to appear before it and explain the breach of promises and loss of jobs. She’s been invited three times but has, thus far, refused each invitation. This refusal is, of course, entirely understandable. She’s the Queen of Cheese, for God’s sake. She’s probably very busy ruling over the world’s Roquefort and Stinking Bishop. She doesn’t have time to be hanging around Parliament!
On Monday night, though, she managed to find time to hold a reception in the Commons where she dished out bags of chocolates to anyone who showed up. It’s surely wrong that this woman and her company can constantly refuse to answer questions on why they put hundreds of people out of work in this country, but can manage to hold a party for Parliamentarians dishing out free chocolates as if they were… er… sweets. Rosenfeld would perhaps do better to avoid the PR stunts and show her former employees the respect of appearing the next select committee hearing!
Although, Kraft do also make Oreos and they’re loveliness itself….
- Fury as Kraft boss Irene Rosenfeld ignores MPs’ requests to appear again (dailymail.co.uk)