Source: Long Clawson Dairy

The Leicestershire-based cheesemaker will launch its 1912 Artisan Stilton brand into larger Tesco stores nationwide from next week

Long Clawson Dairy is launching its first-ever branded stilton as part of a bid to double UK consumption of the cheeseboard staple.

The Leicestershire-based cheesemaker – one of only six businesses permitted to manufacture stilton due to its protected designation of origin (PDO) status – will launch its 1912 Artisan Stilton brand into larger Tesco stores nationwide from next week (rsp: £3/150g).

Other retailers are also expected to start selling the cheese next year.

Named after the year Long Clawson was established as a farming co-operative, 1912 had been in development for more than three years by a group of master cheesemakers boasting more than 200 years of collective experience, said MD Bill Mathieson.

With “a pure creaminess and intense tanginess” the cheese had already delivered award wins at both the International Cheese Awards and the World Cheese Awards under a pseudonym, he added.

1912 will be sold in a “very distinctive” recyclable card packaging, with the cheese sealed in a breathable film that is also recyclable. 

Recipe inspiration, key facts on stilton and a QR code linking to star chef and brand ambassador Marco Pierre White’s recipes will also be carried on pack.

The launch will also be supported by a PR, social media and marketing campaign, fronted by Pierre White, who will also be using the cheese in his restaurants. 

Long Clawson aimed to move the “national treasure” of stilton away from the cheeseboard towards becoming “a core product” in UK households, Mathieson said.

Stilton value sales fell by 6.3% in the mults to £41.9m during the year to 12 June, in the face of a 6.3% average increase in price [Nielsen]. And the Long Clawson name had previously been best known in foodservice and on own label stilton sold in supermarkets, he admitted. 

However, Mathieson believed the 1912 brand would help stimulate shopper interest in the cheese and drive an upturn in “usage occasions”.

“We’re facing into the fact there is a recession coming and there will be more in-home moments to consume stilton,” he suggested. “It’s currently wedded to the cheeseboard, with people, on average, only consuming stilton three times a year.”

Given more than 60% of consumers used cheese as an ingredient, Mathieson said there was “a massive opportunity to double the market over the next 10-15 years as a more everyday ingredient for snacking and in recipes”.

“The team has developed a stilton like no other, delivering a flavour that takes the consumer on a journey, with layers of flavour in every crumbling bite.”

The cheese was made with milk sourced from cows grazed for at least 180 days a year at the 30 farms that own the Long Clawson co-op – reinforcing the producer’s strong credentials around provenance, Mathieson said.