UK cheese trade

Updated 18 November 2019

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: September 2019

  • The UK’s deficit in cheese trade for the year to date (September) increased marginally compared to the same period last year.
  • Exports in the nine months to September were up 9% from last year, amounting to almost 13,000 tonnes more than over the same period in 2018.
  • The rise was driven by increased shipments in advance of the March Brexit deadline. with exports since then at more normal levels. There was an upturn in exported volumes in August, possibly in preparation for the October deadline.
  • Imports so far this year were up 3.5% (13,718 tonnes) on year earlier levels. This is slightly more than the rise in tonnage for exports.

Imports

  • The UK imported 50,983 tonnes of cheese in September, almost exclusively from the EU (99.6%).
  • Cheddar made up 30% of September import volumes, and mozzarella accounted for 8%
  • Import volumes were 17.5% higher than in September 2018, although cumulatively, total cheese imports between January and September were only up 3.5%.
  • Cumulative imports of Cheddar (Jan-Sep) were 93,029 tonnes, 17% higher than last year. There was also a 7% increase in the year-to-date volumes of fresh cheese imported.
  • Year-to-date imports of mozzarella, territorials and other cheeses (including blue-veined, continentals, grated & powdered and processed cheeses) were down from last year.

Exports

  • In September, UK cheese exports totalled 18,016 tonnes, 19% more than in September last year.
  • All product categories recorded higher exports in the month compared to September 2018.
  • The majority of exports were shipped to the EU (81%). Cheddar accounted for the largest share (45%) of total exports, followed by fresh cheeses (21%).
  • Mozzarella has seen the largest growth in year-to-date export volumes, shipping 62% more between January and September this year than last. Cheddar has also seen growth over this period, exporting 7% more volume (4,690 tonnes)