More people are buying more British cheese more often, according to figures from AHDB.
With a quarter of all milk produced in the UK processed into cheese, the household staple is an important product both for shoppers and for dairy farmers.
While cheese exports are up and imports are down there are positive signs at last emerging for the dairy sector. But despite this, the value of cheese has declined and prices remain far below sustainable levels on farm.
At the start of the International Cheese Show in Nantwich, Cheshire, national NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said now is a good time to thank people for choosing British cheese and the positive impact they are having. And to send a clear message to the supply chain – a fair price is needed for dairy farmers.
“We have such a positive story to tell,” said Mr Oakes.
“Figures for May 2016 show that UK imports of Cheddar were down 39 per cent on the same month last year while exports of cheese were six per cent higher this May compared to 2015. Meanwhile, retail cheese sales for the year ending May 2016 grew 4.7 per cent. The great news is more people than ever before are eating British cheese. With most branded cheddar sold on promotion in the UK consumers are getting good value on a highly nutritional product.
“And we have seen dairy commodity prices strengthening in recent weeks. The next step must be for the value of cheese to increase through the supply chain and for a fair share of that money to be passed back to farm as quickly as possible. While in-store promotions are good news for the shopper, as a dairy farmer I have concerns. The aim of these promotions is to sell more volume rather than diminish value. My question is who is paying for such promotions?”