Brits Expected To Fork Out £2bn On Cheese Over Christmas

Survey finds those in the Scottish Borders will spend nearly £40 each on cheese over the festive season, with British cheese beating France at its own fromage-game


With Christmas fast approaching, research reveals the Borders’ 2018 yuletide cheeseboard will be almost entirely made up of British cheeses, with our much loved Cheddar coming out on top.


The findings from Arla, the UK’s largest cheese producer, show just how proud we are of our UK-made fare, with 68 per cent of us saying that British cheese producers are better than our French neighbours. The dairy co-operative, which includes 2,400 British dairy farmers amongst its owners, estimates it will sell over 7,000 tonnes of cheddar through UK retailers this December.


The survey of 2,000 consumers also found that we spend an average of £39 on our cheesy festive fare and eight out of ten cheeses on the all-important cheeseboard will be British this year. The Scottish Borders’ ultimate 2018 Christmas cheeseboard would be made up of the following ten cheeses: Cheddar, Brie, Red Leicester, Camembert, Stilton, Wensleydale, Double Gloucester, Emmental, Halloumi and Wensleydale with Cranberries.


Arla owner, David Hyslop, is a Lockerbie farmer with 370 dairy cows. He comments: “Christmas Day is like any other day for dairy farmers. The cows still need milking, feeding and the farm looking after so we can make sure we’re meeting the demand there is for British made Cheddar all year round.
“I’m very proud to be one of Arla’s farmer owners, making milk that goes into some of the nation’s most-loved cheeses. As we’re always striving to make great quality, affordable produce, it’s a great feeling to know we’ve played a part in the milk and cheese products that make Christmas dinners taste amazing. From the cauliflower cheese, to the cheese and crackers, it’s certainly shaping up to be a dairy merry Christmas!”

We’re fast becoming a foodie nation that is obsessed with cheese, with 90 per cent of the 2,000 respondents saying they know more about cheese than they did 10 years ago.

When it comes to our buying habits for the rest of the year, Cheddar is by far the UK’s favourite, picked by two thirds (66 per cent) of those surveyed, with Red Leicester coming in second (35 per cent). Continental Brie and Camembert take third (24 per cent) and fourth places respectively, but with Britain making more continental-style cheeses, we’re becoming less reliant on imports.


Christmas is a key time for cheese eaters, with over three quarters (76 per cent) of those surveyed saying that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. And it’s not just for the mature, with the younger Millennial generation (16-29 year olds) splashing out a massive £44 on festive fromage.


The research also shows that we like to eat cheese as simply as possible with more than half of us (55 per cent) opting for a cream cracker, but we’ll also settle for a seeded cracker (32 per cent) or a water biscuit (23 per cent). But, one in five of us (20 percent) love nothing more than sweet/savoury hit of cheese on a digestive biscuit.


We’ll most likely eat cheese with some pickle (39 per cent) or a blob of chutney (34 per cent) but around one in ten of us are a bit more adventurous and pair it with chocolate (8 per cent) or Marmite (9 per cent).


Regionally, Sheffield is the cheese capital of Britain, spending a massive £46 each on festive dairy compared to £25 in Norwich. Staying proud to their roots, those in Leicester top the list for Red Leicester as a favourite, with 56% preferring the variety.


There were differences between generations and genders too. Young people aged between 16 and 29 were three times more likely to choose Halloumi as a favourite cheese than over 60s. 30 percent of youngsters picked the squeaky Cypriot as a favourite compared to just eight percent of over-60s.


And nearly a third (29 per cent) of women picked Camembert as a favourite compared to just 19 percent of men.


Scotland’s top twenty favourite cheeses:


  1. Cheddar 62%
  2. Brie 41%
  3. Red Leicester 39%
  4. Camembert 33%
  5. Stilton 29%
  6. Wensleydale 24%
  7. Double Gloucester 20%
  8. Emmental 20%
  9. Halloumi 19%
  10. Wensleydale with cranberries 18%
  11. Cheese with flavourings like gin 17%
  12. Feta 16%
  13. Cheshire 15%
  14. Lancashire 15%
  15. Parmesan 15%
  16. Goat’s cheese 14%
  17. Gorgonzola 10%
  18. Roquefort 10%
  19. Yorkshire Blue 9%
  20. Manchego 9%


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