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Food services and businesses can take comfort from some encouraging statistics from the School of Marketing. Whereas in 2018-2020, 90.37 food businesses failed for every 100 that began, in 2020 to 2022 that figure fell to 80.51. It’s a similar story in retail where the number was 79.75 in the years between 2018 and 2020 and 69.94 in the years 2020 to 2022.
At Country Cheeses building and maintaining relationships in the business at all levels is vital, and supporting each other has never been more important than it is now. “We have always been supportive of small, local, artisan makers and our future plan is to continue to do just that,” says Gary.
“We have extremely strong relationships with our cheesemakers based on years and years of close communication, regular visits to collect cheese, catch up and a mutual respect for a fine product. These guys are the future, not just for the cheeses they make but also for the jobs and local employment they offer too.”
Such an uncertain future can make planning ahead feel precarious, but in a business where nothing is ever certain and in times where we have all learned to adapt, what the cheese sector has in abundance is resilience and determination.
Gary from Country Cheeses believes history has a lot to teach us and that the traditions of cheesemaking and cheese-mongering will prove to be the map that leads the cheese sector through this crisis. “The best way to plan ahead is by reflecting on the past and focusing on what’s really important – tradition, quality, value for money and encouraging small scale food production. Less miles equals more food security. Artisan is always artisan, so even during difficult circumstances quality won’t be sacrificed as it will in mass food production.”
A wide variety of products and a variety of ways to sell it will clear a pathway through the fires for cheese businesses at all levels. As we move from covid to the cost of living crisis, the issues may change, but a response of flexibility and an ability to change with changing times, will bring light to the cheese sector in the UK.
“It is undoubtedly going to be a time of change,” says Jessica Honey at Curd & Cure, “but we are confident that by offering ranges which cater both to the more price sensitive end of the market, and those with a higher price point, with the quality, provenance, and story to back this up, retailers will be able to position themselves to ensure they are catering to a wider variety of needs.
“Britain now produces more varieties of cheese than France and with constant innovation in the market both in dairy and non-dairy, there is plenty to keep consumers engaged and excited in our flourishing industry.”