UK cheese trade

Updated 30 April 2020

For the latest trade data please visit our new dairy trade dashboard.
 

Data on UK trade in cheese is provided here to give an overview of recent activity. Monthly import and export volumes are reported, split by product group and trading regions.

Overview: February 2020

  • Both imports and exports were down on the year, despite there being an extra day in February this year.
  • The UK’s deficit in cheese trade for the year to date (Jan-Feb) has shrunk by a quarter compared to a year previous, due to lower imports.
  • Export volumes for the two months to February were down 10% from last year, at 32,688 tonnes
  • Imports were also down, with 68,908 tonnes of cheese arriving in the first two months of the year. This is 20% less than volumes in 2019, amounting to 17,069 tonnes.
  • Last year we saw an uplift in trade in advance of the March 2019 Brexit deadline that we wouldn’t expect to be repeated in 2020. Although the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020, the transition period means trading conditions have not materially changed.
  • This year, Coronavirus is expected to have some impact on trade, particularly through disrupted shipping and reduced global demand. However, during January and February, the outbreak was in its early stages in Europe, with the Italian lockdown not starting until 23 February.

Imports

  • The UK imported 32,674 tonnes of cheese in February, 29% less than a year earlier.
  • Cheddar made up 15% of February import volumes, and mozzarella accounted for 12%.
  • Cheddar saw the largest year on year decrease in imports, down 60% (7,485 tonnes) on February 2019 to 4,984 tonnes.
  • Cumulative imports of Cheddar (Jan-Feb) were 11,246 tonnes, 44% lower than last year. There was an 18% decrease in the year-to-date volumes of fresh cheese imports while total mozzarella imports were 1,520 tonnes lower (-15%).

Exports

  • In February, UK cheese exports totalled 15,561 tonnes, 16% less than in February last year.
  • Mozzarella and ‘other cheeses’ recorded higher exports in the month compared to February 2019 while cheddar, territorials and fresh cheeses were lower.
  • Cheddar accounted for 39% of February exports while mozzarella accounted for 30%.
  • Mozzarella has seen the largest growth in year-to-date export volumes, shipping 128% more during January and February this year than last. Meanwhile, Cheddar exports were down 20% over this period and fresh cheese exports were down 76%.

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