Exports of cheese from Britain have increased in the first three months of the year with worldwide sales up 29% to almost £143 million.
Latest figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) show almost 40,000 tonnes of cheese were exported around the world in the first quarter of 2017 – a rise of 3% compared to the same time last year.
The lion’s share was destined for the EU where exports grew by eight percent – rising to 32,479 tonnes. One of the biggest growth markets was Asia and Oceania where exports rose by 36% to 1,798 tonnes.
AHDB’s senior exports manager for Dairy Lucy Randolph said: “These latest figures are very encouraging for the dairy sector. It is fantastic to see that cheese from Britain is in demand around the world and markets are recognising our high quality and sophisticated products.
“While exports to Europe are still incredibly strong, it is also very encouraging to see non-EU exports have grown since the start of the year. It is important with Brexit that we look further afield for opportunities for our exporters.”
The new figures come after a particularly busy year for AHDB Dairy which has expanded its trade development programme in a bid to promote speciality cheeses around the world.
A selection of premium cheeses from Britain is being promoted in India for the first time this month with shoppers in Delhi being offered tastings in supermarkets as part of a series of promotional events across the city.
In April, cheese from Britain was served up for the first time to chefs, dairy buyers and local media at a tasting session in Hong Kong. Around 65 people attended the event, organised by AHDB Dairy to promote a range of artisan and premium cheeses already available in Hong Kong together with new selections.
And in May, AHDB Dairy exhibited at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago – America’s largest annual foodservice trade show as well as Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show Hofex, in Hong Kong.
Lucy said: “We have enjoyed an incredibly busy 12 months having increased our presence at food shows around the world, particularly targeting non-EU countries where we are keen to make our mark in this competitive market.
“We are in the process of preparing for the Speciality and Fine Food Asia event which takes place in Singapore this month. This promises to be a popular event and will hopefully provide many opportunities for our dairy exporters.”