Cheese sales in UK soared last year, figures show

The cheese category outperformed the overall food and drink uplift
The cheese category outperformed the overall food and drink uplift

Cheese sales in the UK soared last year, with retail data showing a 15 percent increase in volume and 17 percent in value.

As the country stayed at home for much of 2020, 1.2 billion more cheese occasions were enjoyed in-home, a 20 percent increase on 2019.

The cheese category outperformed overall food and drink uplift at 12 percent, Kantar figures show.

Exploration of different cheeses appears to be one trend coming out of the lockdown, with growth across British regional, speciality and continental varieties.

However, Cheddar remains the British public's favourite, consisting of almost half of all cheese sales.

Mirroring this success in 2020, red meat and dairy sales saw impressive retail figures right through 2020 and have continued into 2021.

Sales of meat and dairy have seen solid growth since Covid-19 restrictions began last March, with shoppers buying more through retail than pre-Covid.

But cheese is particularly a firm favourite for consumers, AHDB consumer insight analyst Rachel Rose noted, with 99% of households buying it over the last 12 months.

"Multiple lockdowns and restricted food service seems to have encouraged shoppers to try new varieties, and find new ways to bring cheese into their diets," she said.

“While retail sales are likely to stabilise as life begins to return to normal, processors and retailers can focus on key areas such as health, or lunchtime and snacking.

"As while cheese as a sandwich filling remains a lunchtime staple, development could open up new opportunities in this area.”