Low-fat alternatives to Cheddar have become the UK’s fastest growing cheeses, according to new data from AC Nielsen.

In the past year, volume sales of Cheddar varieties with less than 30% fat increased by more than 10% to 37,494,000 packs [52 w/e 15 January 2011]. That was compared to a 3.8% fall in volume sales for mature Cheddar and a 3.7% fall for medium Cheddar.

Tesco, which saw volume sales of low-fat Cheddar alternatives surge by 48% over the period, said it expected low-fat variants to account for 25% of all its cheese sales by 2015.

Nigel White of the British Cheese Board said the increasing number of reduced-fat hard cheeses coming onto the market were “a great boon” to consumers wanting to enjoy cheese while also reducing their calorie and fat intake.

“They are naturally firmer than their traditional equivalents but as such they slice and grate fantastically well and are ideal for sandwich and cooking uses, such as cheese on toast, topping pasta dishes or grating on salads,” he added.

Get the full low-down on the UK cheese market with December's Focus On Cheeses, including our look at how new fat reduction targets have prompted the launch of a flurry of healthier options.

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