Are we in a golden age for British cheese?

24 September 2021, 09:02 AM
  • Or is the artisan industry just getting started? James Grant of No2 Pound Street weighs in
Are we in a golden age for British cheese?

The pandemic has changed the face of retail on many levels. One thing for certain is that we are a lot stronger and wiser when it comes to running small businesses.

The high streets are changing. Now more than ever, we need to embrace and shout out small producers. The general public are beginning to realise that there are far superior food and drink offerings on their doorsteps to that available at the supermarkets.

At No2, we only sell artisan British cheese. This cheese is not sold in the supermarkets, partly due to supply but mostly because the cheesemakers are content with being subsistent.

It is our duty as cheesemongers to keep promoting and supporting these cheesemakers. The dawn of the circular economy is upon us, and if we can help to conserve and avoid wastage by buying from small producers, surely this is a good thing.

Did any of you pick up on the amount of waste that was found at the Dunfermline Amazon warehouse that targets 130,000 items a week for destruction? Just one of the few shocking environmental stories of the last seven months. Don’t get me started on supermarkets. Super? Really?

New small cheesemakers are popping up all over the UK, which is surely a positive sign for the artisan cheese market.

By embracing social media, No2 has found new producers. Most importantly by talking to the cheesemakers and good producers I have learnt so much about what is happening in their artisan worlds – who the new kids on the block are, etc.

It is high time that we all had something to celebrate, and as one of my contemporaries said to me recently, “this is a golden age for British cheese”. I agree that things have come a long way since industrialisation and mass produced cheese. However, today’s new artisan producers number less than half of what we had pre World Wars. So, in my opinion the golden age is yet to come and those golden nuggets that are shining now will form part of a beautiful golden landscape in the next few years.

Shouting out about your produce is the way forward. Your knowledge is key to your shop’s success. Our audience wants to know and understand their food. Way back we all knew where our food came from so why not now? Let us say goodbye to faceless producers and mass produced garbage. There are reasons to be cheeseful coming to a high street near you soon, if you want them.

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