Strong year for UK cheese exports

Exports of cheese from the UK surpassed the £615 million mark last year – rising 23 per cent from 2016, according to the latest figures from HMRC.

The data shows volumes of exported cheese rose by five per cent from the previous year – reaching just over 170,000 tonnes. While cheddar continues to dominate exports, fresh cheeses – and in particular mozzarella – saw strong export growth in the year.

The lion’s share was shipped to European markets with Ireland, France and the Netherlands remaining the most important destinations. Shipments to Germany have been declining, although replaced by increased sales to Denmark and Poland.

Figures also show an increase in cheese exports to Asia, mainly to the Philippines, with volumes up 27 per cent year-on-year. The relatively high increase in average prices in these markets meant the value of cheddar exports rose by 57 per cent over the year.

AHDB senior export manager Lucy Randolph said the latest figures are a testament to the high quality cheese produced in the UK and the growing reputation for the country’s dairy products.

“The 2017 data shows another strong year of growth for our cheese exports,” she added. “While the EU is still our main market and is vital for UK dairy exports, it is encouraging to see both volumes and value increase outside of Europe.

“AHDB is continuing to work with cheese producers in the UK to grow our exports in existing markets as well as developing new opportunities across the globe.”

The AHDB export team are attending the international trade show Food and Hotel Asia in Singapore this week and will be joined by nine producers from the UK who will be exhibiting premium cheese and dairy products to more than 40,000 trade delegates.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.