Imports of Irish Cheddar on track for record

Monday, 2 December 2019

By Kat Jack

UK imports of Irish Cheddar in 2019 are on track to be the highest for at least twenty years.

Imports of Irish Cheddar totalled just under 90,000 tonnes between January and September 2019. This is up 24% on the same period in 2018, which in turn was up 15% on Jan-Sep 2017. Since 1999, the highest full-year import figures were just under 100,000 tonnes – in 2008 and 2018. This year, imports are already at 90% of this total with three months still to go, so a new record looks highly likely.

In 2018, we identified Brexit as a probable driver for the boost in UK imports of Irish Cheddar. According to press reports at the time, Irish processors were stockpiling Cheddar in the UK as a safeguard against a no-deal Brexit. This would enable them to keep supplying supermarkets without a tariff-related price hike, at least while stocks last. It would also reduce the opportunity for domestic producers to displace Irish supply should trade become more difficult, at least in the short term.

In 2019, import growth was driven by trade in Q1 and Q3, in advance of the two previous Brexit dates. Therefore it seems likely that this is still the motivation behind the increased imports.


Image of staff member Katherine Jack

Katherine Jack

Senior Analyst - Dairy

See full bio


Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Dairy market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form and select the information you wish to receive.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at info@ahdb.org.uk  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved. 

×