UK cheese exports see some recovery from Brexit drop-off

31-08 | |
Cheese exports have gradually increased with year to date (Jan-June) 25% above those seen last year and running in line with overall totals for the first half of 2020. Photo: Canva
Cheese exports have gradually increased with year to date (Jan-June) 25% above those seen last year and running in line with overall totals for the first half of 2020. Photo: Canva

New UK trade data shows cheese exports in the second quarter up. Cheese is the only dairy category to have seen an increase following the Brexit-induced drop-off at the beginning of 2021.

Cheese exports have gradually increased with year to date (Jan-June) 25% above those seen last year and running in line with overall totals for the first half of 2020.

Charlotte Forkes-Rees, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board analyst, said trade with France and Sweden had increased to above pre-Brexit levels year to date, but levels to Germany, Denmark and Spain were still a little lower.

She said that despite the improvements, it may be a while before UK cheese exports return to levels seen pre-Brexit: “Trade in 2021 was abnormally low due to the uncertainties and added trade friction associated with the UK leaving the EU. While most traders have now adapted to most of these barriers, the average price per tonne for cheese has seen a 15% increase in comparison to prices seen in quarter 2 of 2021,” added Forkes-Rees.

US markets offer opportunities to the organic sector

She said the changes in overall export volumes were primarily due to changes in EU trade as exports to non-EU countries had remained unchanged in recent months. However, this may be about to change a little as Omsco – Britain’s organic dairy company – is now set to have its packs of mature, extra mature and vintage organic cheddar listed in more than 2,400 stores in the US.

Having recently appointed Trugman-Nash, a leading importer and distributor of cheddar in north America, as the British Organic Dairy Company’s sole US distributor, Omsco has worked closely with them to launch the brand into the new market. Central to this was showcasing the products at 2 of the largest trade food fairs – the International Dairy Deli and Bakery Association event in Atlanta and the Speciality Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

The cheeses are produced by Somerset-based Wyke Farms, one of the country’s longest established, family-run cheesemakers based in the heart of the Somerset countryside.

Peter Andrew, Omsco’s head of business development, said containers of cheddar would be arriving in the USevery month: “We are confident that sales will go from strength to strength,” he said.

McDougal
Tony McDougal Freelance journalist
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