cheese aisle

Range rationalisations and price cuts have taken their toll on the Cheddar category, with £60.9m wiped off sales over the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 14 August 2016].

Brands bore the brunt of these losses as retailers took an axe to ranges.

Arla’s Anchor Cheddar fell out of the top 10 cheese brands this year, losing £17.6m in value sales, representing more than half of the brand’s total value. It is now clinging on to its only remaining mult listing with Asda.

Cathedral City, cheese’s biggest brand, also suffered losses after its range was significantly cut in Sainsbury’s earlier this year. Its value fell by £14.8m [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 September 2016].

“Customers have focused on a simpler consumer range based around a brand leader and a strong, refocused own-label range, with secondary and/or tertiary brands reduced in distribution,” said Amy Fisher, senior shopper marketing manager for Cathedral City owner Dairy Crest.

Cheese overall performed much better but a 4.9% cut to average prices across the category eroded value, which fell 0.6% [Kantar].

“Cheese value sales are in decline, driven by price reductions as a result of commodity prices and retailer competition pushing prices down,” said Wendy Kilner-Smith, senior insight manager at IRI.

There are some bright spots, however. Brits spent an extra £25.3m on Continental cheese, for example, and an extra £7.9m on mini portions.