Is Cheddar Losing Out to Continental Cheeses?

27 November 2015, 12:07 PM
  • Recent research from Mintel has revealed that Cheddar sales are declining, with consumers purchasing Continental cheeses such as Brie instead
Is Cheddar Losing Out to Continental Cheeses?

The research found that sales of Cheddar have dropped by 5 per cent in the past twelve months, and while it is still the UK’s top-selling cheese, it is estimated to make up 48 per cent of British cheese sales compared with 51 per cent in 2013.

Patricia Michelson, owner of Fromagerie said, “It is all very well saying that Cheddar is seeing a decline in popularity or as the ‘cheese of choice’, but that is not the whole story or indeed the right way of looking at it.

“Cheddar is as strong as ever, but in more diverse and varying ways. The supermarkets have upped their game with many more foreign cheeses, and with the strong exchange rate it also means that buying continental cheeses can be more profitable for them. I mention supermarkets because they get the most press and do extensive advertising.

“However, for specialist cheese shops and those who live and breathe cheese (like myself and others like Neal’s Yard Dairy, Courtyard Dairy etc) Cheddar is probably the first cheese we give as a taster to customers coming to buy. What specialists and others like ourselves do is bring the Cheddar out of its comfort zone and pair it with different alcoholic beverages like whisky or Champagne, and develop interesting links with other styles of cheese whether British or Continental.

“The sales of Cheddar in France have massively increased over the last few years, and Neal’s Yard Dairy and others who export will testify to that. However, the problem lies with where these statistics come from and who has been asked for their opinion. I’ve never been asked – and that is probably the reason why you read things like this. These stats come from the big operators the Government or whoever does these poles go to for information.

“If you asked me what I’d pair with a Bordeaux red I’d say Cheddar and so would the French, so instead of being so entrenched in regionality, when pairing let’s go and see what cheeses we can partner from a wider field; you will invariably find that Cheddar is a great platform for exploring taste.”

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