Brits could be in for a shock when they buy their usual favourites for the Christmas cheeseboard this year.

Retail price inflation across the total cheese category has been relatively modest over the past 12 months, with average unit prices in the big four and Waitrose rising by 5% year on year from £3.10 to £3.26 []. However, some sub-categories, brands and SKUs - including seasonal favourites such as Stilton and Camembert - have been hit by more substantial increases.

Average unit prices for blue cheese are up by 11%, rising from £4.46 to £5.03 over the past year, with Stilton up by 13% year on year [BrandView].

Price increases have hit all parts of the Stilton category: for example, standard blue Stilton on Tesco’s deli counter is up from £6.72/kg to £7/kg this year, with Asda’s up from £6.73/kg to £6.90/kg. Meanwhile, Waitrose is selling premium Cropwell Bishop blue Stilton for £15.50/ kg this year - £1/kg more than in 2012.

Shoppers tempted to forego their Christmas Stilton for Continental blues instead, won’t find much cause for seasonal cheer there either. The total Continental cheese category is up by 8% year on year, having risen from an average unit price of £3.64 to £3.94.

Retailers have held prices on some key Continental blues - a 100g pack of standard own-label Roquefort, for example, costs the same in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons as it did a year ago (£1.75 in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, and £1.50 in Asda). However, there has been inflation on some of the more high-end lines, such as Waitrose’s cave-aged Roquefort, which has risen from £2.39 to £2.99 for a 100g pack over the past year.

It’s a similar picture for Camembert and Brie (all origins), where prices have been held on some individual lines, but have crept up generally. Average unit prices for Brie in the mults have risen by 17% over the past year. The cheapest supermarket own-label Brie has become nearly 10p more expensive, rising from an average of £1.06 to £1.15 for a 200g portion.

Meanwhile, a 250g pack of French Camembert in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose has increased from an average of £1.62 to £1.78 over the past year.

The picture is more favourable for that other festive cheese staple, Wensleydale, with many retailer own-label lines having stayed the same price or dropped in price over the past 12 months.

Sainsbury’s has cut the price of its Taste the Difference Wensleydale with cranberries from £2.50 to £1.87 for a 240g portion, while Tesco has held the price of its Finest Handmade Wensleydale at £2.40 for a 250g pack over the past 12 months. At Asda, a 150g pack of standard Wensleydale has nudged 2p cheaper, droppping from £1.50 to £1.48.

Haddock prices soar 60%

Haddock prices are up nearly 60% year on year as a result of reduced fishing quotas for the Barents Sea. The haddock quota for 2014 has been set at 178,500 tonnes, down from 200,000 tonnes in 2013. The cod quota for 2014 is also down slightly, at 993,000 tonnes compared with one million tonnes this year, but - despite a month-on-month price increase - cod prices remain lower than this time a year ago.

Meanwhile, salmon prices are up by 41.5% year on year and up 4.1% month on month in response to reduced export volumes from Norway.

Skipjack tuna in Thailand is nearly 20% cheaper than a year ago as a fishery in the East Pacific that was partially closed for some time is now fully open again, boosting supply. Yellowfin prices are also down thanks to good catches recently, and sardines have fallen seasonally by nearly 30% over the past month because demand drops off towards winter.

Wholesale prices 23 Nov