UK cheddar value trade remains positive while volumes improve

Published 2 March 18

2017 UK cheddar trade balance provided a slight improvement in both value and volume terms, although volumes remain in deficit.

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Export values continued to rise for a number of years while import values declined. However, in 2017, the value of imported cheddar jumped 26% (£52m), driven mainly by Ireland. Average import prices increased circa 30% between 2016 and 2017 while export prices rose circa 20%. However, the difference is close to £1k/tonne, in favour of exports.

The volume trade deficit has been improving for a number of years, as exports slowly increased while imports slowly decreased.

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These figures, combined with increases in UK cheddar production, suggests the UK’s availability of cheddar increased 2.5% (8k tonnes) in 2017 compared to the year before.

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As a result, the UK cheddar industry was 95.0% self-sufficient in 2017, up from 93.7% in 2016, and significantly ahead of the 70-80% level it was delivering 5-10 years ago.