Sales boost for 'local' cheesesThey're beating the continental varieties

21 September 2007

Regional British cheeses are enjoying a bigger sales upturn than Brie and other continental varieties, a report out today says.

Lancashire, Cheshire and Red Leicester are among the local cheeses seeing their popularity increase, according to market analysts Mintel.

Sales of regional British cheese rose around 16% to £220 million between 2004 and 2006.

The amount spent on continental cheese fell 7% to £340 million over the same period due to prices coming down.

Cheddars

Cheddars from home and abroad made up 52% of all cheese sales in the UK last year.

Shoppers spent £985 million on cheddar cheese - up 7% from 2004.

Mintel senior consumer analyst David Bird said growing consumer interest in buying local food and drink had helped boost regional cheese sales.

Local food

'Continental cheese such as Brie used to be seen as a luxury for special occasions. But today many continental varieties are now more an everyday staple than an occasional treat,' he said.

'This has inevitably brought prices down and as a result market value has declined, despite rising volume sales.'

Shoppers in Britain spent £1.9 billion on cheese last year with sales set to rise to £1.93 billion this year, Mintel's Cheese report predicts.

The report defines "regional cheese" as those coming from a specific region within Great Britain. Cheddar is not included in this category because it is classed separately.

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