20 May 2020, 08:03 AM
  • Sales of Britain’s first protected cheese have plunged during the UK’s lockdown, the Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association says
Future of British cheesemakers at risk as Stilton sales drop 30%

Stilton cheesemakers are at risk of going out of business as sales plunge by 30%, an industry trade body has warned. The Stilton Cheese Maker’s Association said the closure of the hospitality and events industry as well as the closure of export markets following the outbreak of Covid-19 has hampered cheese producers and the dairy farmers that supply them.

Dairy farmers have been hit particularly hard by the UK’s lockdown, with some forced to throw away perfectly good milk due to a lack of demand. The SCMA said the decline in Stilton sales is impacting 70 British dairy farms, some of which go back five generations.

Stilton was the first British cheese to be awarded European protected designation of origin status, meaning cheese can only be labelled as Stilton if it is made in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire using traditional recipes.

The SCMA, which fears that some producers will go out of business due to the drop in sales, urged consumers to support British dairy farmers. The group also warned that the current situation could discourage the next generation of cheesemakers. Businesses are now looking into alternative ways to sell their Stilton directly to customers.

Robin Skailes, Chairman of the SCMA and director of Cropwell Bishop Creamery, said: “Like many British food producers, Stilton sales have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We hope that the British public will support us by buying Stilton instead of imported blue cheeses which, in turn, will support British dairy farmers.”

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