Increasing cheese exports to non-EU countries

Published 25 January 18

UK cheese exports for January-November 2017 totalled 153,000 tonnes, 3% more than the same period in 2016, and 32% more than the amount exported five years ago. Back in 2012, nearly 90% of UK cheese exports went to EU countries. In the past five years however, that has started to shift, with only 81% of 2017 cheese exports (Jan-Nov) going to the EU.

2018.01.25 cheese exports

In volume terms, the majority of the growth we have seen in exports has been with cheddar, where there have been substantial increases in exports to both EU and non-EU countries. In the EU, growth has mainly been in exports to Ireland, the Netherlands, and Denmark. For non-EU markets, the rise has been mostly in exports to the US and parts of the Middle East.

Another key area of growth has been exports of other cheeses to non-EU countries. Increases have been primarily of fresh cheese categories, including mozzarella, along with grated and powdered cheeses. The non-EU exports are mainly going to Asian and Middle-Eastern countries.

Although non-EU trade has been increasing, the EU is currently still our biggest export market for most cheese. With Brexit on the horizon, and trade agreements still uncertain at this stage, the development of new export markets is a positive story, but it will be important to maintain our competitiveness to ensure these markets remain available.