The Most Stolen Item in the World

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

Pop quiz.

What do you think is the most stolen item in the world?




Bread was the first thing that came to my mind perhaps because I love the book and the musical Les Miserables‘. Who can forget Jean Valjean going to prison for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children?

All of those answers are wrong!

Would you believe that after surveying nearly 1200 retailers representing 250,000 retail outlets all across the world, the UK’s Center for Retail Research discovered that the most stolen item is none other than:


Believe it or not, nearly 4% of cheese is stolen each and every year.

Dr. Joshua Banfield, Director of the Center for Retail Research, says that with the price of cheese rising, much of the theft is for resale into other markets or to restaurants.

Other frequently stolen items making the high risk list include meat, chocolate, alcohol, and seafood.

I find it interesting that three out of the top five most stolen items are animal foods considered by Traditional Societies to be essential for vibrant health.

It seems that when desperation sets in at the level which compels a person to become a criminal, the misguided mantra of conventional nutritionists and government agencies to avoid meat and foods high in saturated fat like cheese quickly goes out the window.

Perhaps there is more going on here than small time criminals trying to make a quick buck on the black market.  Could many of these people stealing cheese, meat, or seafood simply be extremely hungry during these tumultuous economic times and instinctively favoring those foods that will give them the most nutrition and ability to survive?



Source: World Dairy Diary

Picture Credit


Comments (48)

  1. Pingback: There is nothing worth stealing - Page 6 - Christian Forums

  2. Pingback: Around the Web: Palm Sunday Edition | Perfect Health Diet

  3. This is where we get the expression, “Cheese it, it’s the cops!”. No, seriously, in undeveloped parts of the world its value relative to its mass is very substantial. In discount stores here in the U.S. South, premium shaving razors are kept behind the counter, because they have a value that is disproportionate to their size. Ideal to steal. Also, cheese is resistant to spoiling. So compared to bread, cheese is more expensive to start with, and it is generally not worthless within a week.

  4. I can totally understand this. Cheese is nutrient DENSE, so those chained to a low-fat paradigm would be sorely tempted by its rich, creamy, saltiness and melting, smooth, goodness…

    Excuse me, the apricot stilton in the fridge is calling my name…

  5. This doesn’t surprise me a bit. When I worked in a grocery store we apprehended a thief who had been stealing steaks. Come to find out, she was a poor mom on welfare. She would walk around the store, loading a cart with all kinds of things, while secretly stashing expensive steak under her clothing. Of all the things a poor mom could use…….maybe quality meat really WAS her greatest need.

  6. You know, when you think about it, it makes sense! Cheese is delicious, healthy (if it’s good quality cheese, anyway), doesn’t go bad easily, and would be fairly easy to hide. My first thought was bread, too, but cheese will keep you fuller, longer!

  7. Raya King via Facebook October 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I actually have a story about that. As a penniless hungry hippie teenager , many long years ago. I shoplifted cheese and got caught. Unfortunately for me, I had put it in my friend’s purse which she had given to me that I didn’t know had pot in it !

  8. Michael Kvetny via Facebook October 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    In the amazing film Central do Brasil the grandmother (or some such character) instructs the young hero of the movie to always steal sausage…. again, most bang for you buck.

  9. I apologize. I have a question and it has nothing to do with the post. I’ve made your fermented mash potatoes and there are good. But I was wondering if I could sprout potatoes (cut them into pieces and let each piece sprout.) It would help break down the lectins if they were sprouted. I do realize that people say not to eat sprouted potatoes because they are bad for us but I don’t know if I really believe that. Your thoughts would be appreciated. If I could sprout the potatoes then I could use them to make different types of potatoes (ie hashbrowns, french fries etc.) Thank you, Tina

  10. I work at Whole Foods Market…..and since our mantra has been to push veganism I don’t see one leaf of kale stolen yet…..ha ha… is Always cheese and high end face care. As I have always saId when this world goes to hell and a hand basket no one is going to “thrive” on kale. It is laughable now, but it won’t be when all the vegans revert to animal products in five years and plunder all the goods!

    Be on the look out!
    Jennifer W

  11. There’s some Mango-Ginger Stilton cheese down at Fresh Market that would be first on my list….definitely worth the risk! Lololol!

  12. So Interesting. We had a case of green beans stolen from our car that we purchased to take to one of the city food pantries. They don’t accept fresh veggies so we give canned or dry beans. They broke the window to take it. Police Officer thought it was a bit funny.


Leave a Comment

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!