UK cheese exports see some recovery from Brexit drop-off

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

The latest UK trade data shows cheese exports in Q2 2022 were up on the year, the only dairy category to have seen an increase. Following the Brexit-induced drop-off in exports at the beginning of 2021, cheese exports have gradually increased. Year to date (Jan-Jun), cheese exports are 25% above those seen last year and running in line with overall totals for H1 in 2020.

The changes in overall export volumes are primarily due to changes in EU trade as exports to non-EU countries have remained relatively static over the last couple of years.

Overall EU trade is up for H1 2022 vs 2021. Trade with France and Sweden has increased to be above pre-Brexit levels year to date. However, Germany, Denmark, and Spain, despite being significant trade partners for cheese, are yet to return to pre-Brexit trade levels.

Despite the improvement in trade so far this year, total cheese exports may be slow to return to levels seen pre-Brexit. Trade in 2021 was abnormally low due to the uncertainties and added trade friction associated with the UK leaving the EU. Whilst most traders have now adapted to most of these barriers, the average price per tonne for cheese has seen a 15% increase in comparison to prices seen in Q2 2021. This increase in price may impact trade for the remainder of the year, particularly with the cost-of-living challenges facing consumers.

Image of staff member Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Retail and Consumer Insight Analyst

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