Organic-grass-fed Lye Cross Farm

Source: Lye Cross Farm 

The cheese is sourced from milk supplied from a local dairy herd that roams on herb-rich pastures in the summer

Bristol-based Lye Cross Farm’s 100% Grass-Fed Organic Mature Cheddar has scored its first major retailer listing via Ocado.

The premium cheese went on sale on the platform on 18 January in a 200g format (rsp: £3.09).

The product first launched as an export-focused cheese in California four years ago and is also sold through Abel & Cole and Planet Organic in the UK.

It is made from milk supplied from a local dairy herd that roams on herb-rich pastures in the summer, feeds on hay in the winter and is not treated with antibiotics, the brand said.

The cheddar, which was highly commended in The Grocer’s 2020 New Product Awards, would reach a “much broader range of consumers” through Ocado, Ben Hutchins, the brand’s sales and marketing director, told The Grocer.

“It’s the perfect consumer profile for us to target what is a very premium cheddar,” he added.

“We think that this is the way – people buying grass-fed meat, people buying other things as wholesome and natural as possible.”

But despite the product’s most mass-market listing to date, Hutchins stressed there were no plans for the brand to grow at a fast rate and to seek out wider distribution in the mults. It planned to instead grow ‘gently’ as the method of farming used by the product would not support a big push.

“The big challenge is having the cows available,” he said. “It’s very low-density farming. The cows have a nice gentle, tranquil life.”

The concept of ’grass-fed’ or free-range milk and dairy products first gathered pace in early 2017, when rival brands announced plans to launch milk ranges farmed to pasture-fed, free-range standards. Arla then brought the concept to the masses after it rebranded its organic milk as Organic Free Range Milk later that year, while retauilers such as Waitrose have also made commitments to only source dairy products from such production systems.

In 2020, Bord Bia also announced it was set to launch what it claimed was the world’s first national grass-fed dairy standard – which would allow suppliers and processors to provide verifiable proof their milk came from grass-fed cows.