George Paul is owner of Bradbury’s

“BMW flair?”

No, it’s not an advertisement for a famous brand of German cars, it’s the trade reference to ‘Buy-Me-Whole’

There has been a growth in availability, and need, for cheeses suitable for instant sale,and for many the logical solution is a pre-packed version cut from the bulk cheese. For a substantial number of makers that is complicated, especially as the variety of shapes, weights, bandaged cheese, outer surface issues, white and blue mould create a great variety of challenges for would-be packers.

A significant number of makers are now offering a small unit, made and matured from the very outset. Certainly it poses a huge range of different challenges, most especially around matching the flavour to that of a bigger possibly famous named cheese, since the maturing consequences for a small unit are totally different.

That apart, and looking at other emerging factors of demand in the market, it may be that makers might focus on developing those sectors of small size single sale cheese as having many potential advantages.

Historically, a great range of cheeses have been produced in large sizes, down through various shapes and formats, and it is a reality that these pose issues for a lot of outlets. True, most adapt this by cutting into quarters and eighths, but that effectively destroys part of their marketing image.

As concern for waste levels rises, as many of the major retailers cut down their space on deli cheese, unable to understand its needs and opportunity, as buyers in all sectors, especially food service, seek to limit inventory value and space use, and as customers become more pre-pack familiar, the need for a small instant purchase unit rises and could be seen as an opportunity.

At Nantwich this year and elsewhere in the trade, there were many examples of those who have worked hard to create BMW formats. In doing so they can access whole areas of market not available to bulk deli cheese, crossing that gap into being either deli-based, sold in an upright fridge or even online.

It surely enhances brand recognition and enters whole new market opportunities. More creativity in this sector can see the dependency on big volume outputs, complemented by an option to commit buyers to a number of units, especially at feature times like Christmas and Easter, St George’s Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or any other high day and holiday.

Of course it will not be practical for all, but can Cheddar makers arrive at a flavour in a 1kg or 2kg format they are proud of in, say, 40% of the current 18 months or develop entirely new complementary types? It meets market consumer and trade needs, turns that valuable cash resource faster, and could treble the brand exposure. It also avoids price observation in kilo, which is sometimes a horrific price concept. A unit price per cheese makes it so much more simple.

A lot of buy-me-whole development has been led by small waxed units and, from being a Christmas feature, they are steadily gaining all-year-round usage. Go to any farming show and there are stands selling waxed cheese, which serves as adequate proof that the shopper likes the concept of buy-me- whole. Buy-me-whole could be a route to market that some may find beneficial, as either a compliment to pre-pack or as a supplementary support to bulk deli cheese.

I think BMW will move fast!

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