The US dairy industry, glowing from the success of its sexy celebrity "milk moustache" advertising campaign, has set itself a new challenge - it wants to see cheese win some of the US$1.9bn Valentine's Day market from the more traditional chocolate treats.

The American Dairy Association (ADA) is launching a concerted cheese campaign to up the stakes in the battle for the romantic market, although it is convinced that cheese is already way ahead of choclate in the craving stakes. Research conducted by Dairy Management, Inc has shown that cheese is the foremost food craving in the US, said Kevin Burkum, ADA's VP of cheese marketing.

"Certainly there is a passion out there for cheese," he told Reuters.

Costing an undisclosed amount, the advertising strategy will consist of two main parts. Firstly, a competition to find "America's Greatest Cheese Lover" will raise cheese's profile by asked consumers to describe how cheese has brought romance into their lives. The winner will receive a trip for two to Vermont's cheese country and a year's supply of cheese.

Secondly, the ADA is hoping that packaging will help to change the perception of cheese, and is offering products such as "Cupid's Classic" cheese on its website.