Launched: June 2010
Davidstow emerged from the own-label shadows this year after Dairy Crest decided to launch Davidstow Cheddar as a brand in its own right. The Davidstow name had previously been used exclusively for own-label 'named creamery' products.
Dairy Crest has hailed the launch "the most significant category initiative in Cheddar since Cathedral City" and believes it will double total Davidstow sales to more than £50m in five years.
Pilgrims Choice Xtreme (Adams Foods; formerly North Downs Dairy)
Launched: April 2010
Matured for 15 to 18 months, Xtreme offers a mature taste designed to appeal to 'flavour freaks' on the lookout for extra-strong cheese. The black packaging, with its 'for adults only' warning, is designed to modernise the brand and attract new shoppers. Adams Foods says the product has captured consumers' imagination and is expecting "a significant volume" of sales over Christmas.
Jervaulx Blue (Wensleydale Creamery)
Launched: May 2010
A name that evokes the Continent with a taste tailor-made for the British palate that's what Wensleydale hopes to offer. The cheese (named after Jervaulx Abbey in Yorkshire) replaced Wensleydale Blue earlier this year. It has a smoother taste to attract shoppers who have traditionally been put off by the strong aftertaste of many blues from the Continent. Wensleydale says sales of Jervaulx Blue in October were more than twice as high as sales of Wensleydale Blue last October.
Boursin Minis (Bel UK)
Launched: July 2010
Boursin Minis deliver the familiar taste of Boursin's garlic and herb-flavoured cheese in a convenient new format that is designed to appeal to salad eaters as much as it does to those on the lookout for a cheese snack between meals. Bel UK is pitching the product, which comes in a resealable pot, as an alternative to Greek Feta. Boursin minis are also intended as a response to the growing trend for cooking with cheese.
Cheestrings Spaghetti (Kerry Foods)
Launched: August 2010
New entrants to the kids' cheese category have been few and far between this year, so all the more reason to celebrate Kerry Foods' achievements with Cheestrings Spaghetti. Described as "a revolution in kids' cheese snacking", the 100% cheese product is intended to make lunch more fun by "better capturing kids' imaginations".
At the time of launch, Kerry Foods revealed ambitious sales expectations, planning to hit £7m within the first full year and £16m by the end of year three. While unable to provide sales data yet as "Cheestrings Spaghetti is still so new", the range has "performed exceptionally well since launch", according to the dairy giant.
"Cheestrings Spaghetti has got off to a cracking start, showing very strong base rates of sale, and has already brought new consumers into the brand," says Kelly Rafferty, dairy marketing manager at Kerry Foods. "We believe this is one of the most innovative products to ever hit the category," she adds.
Cheestrings Spaghetti is sold in packs of six individually wrapped 21g portions containing several strands of 'spaghetti' (rsp £2.29). Each portion is made with a glass of milk and is free from artificial colours, additives or preservatives. The launch was backed by a colourful TV ad campaign featuring Mr Cheestrings emerging from a tropical sea, James Bond-like, in tight, purple trunks.
Shaking the water from his hair, he ends up with cheesy spaghetti-like tresses, to the astonishment of assembled sunbathers. Kerry marketing director Phil Chapman says the campaign will build on the "humour and personality" integral to the Cheestrings brand and stress the brand's "important 100% real cheese message".
I Can't Believe It's Not Cheddar (Milk Link)
To launch: January 2011
is set to launch I Can't Believe It's Not Cheddar, with 30% less fat than standard Cheddar. Manufactured under licence from brand owner Unilever, the cheese will compete with Cathedral City Lighter.
Hamish Renton, Milk Link marketing and innovation director, claims it will open up the category to a wider potential audience than Cathedral City's "slightly more southern, slightly more well-heeled, slightly older" buyers.
Pilgrims Choice Mature Lighter (Adams Food; formerly North Downs Dairy)
To launch: New Year 2011
It's keeping details under wraps for now, but Pilgrims Choice believes it's in good shape to launch a lighter variant, having spent the past few years watching the market to evaluate customers' needs and preferences for healthier choices. Marketing controller Hannah Jenkins says: "When we launch a product, we want that product to be successful and become established quickly." Extra Mature Lighter will follow in June.
Super light; formerly Leskol (Wyke Farms)
Relaunched: September 2010
Launched in 2006, this product was given a facelift by Wyke Farms this year, renaming it 'Super Light' after consumers had failed to grasp the fact that it was a lower-fat cheese. At best, some had thought it was a foreign cheese and, at worst, some had thought it was a medicinal product. The product's branding has now been brought into line with the rest of the Wyke Farms portfolio.
Primula Light (Kavli)
Launched: March 2010
With 40% less fat than standard Primula, and meeting the FSA 2012 salt targets, Primula Light is stocked by Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Nisa, and is performing at roughly 25% of the sales of the original product. Craig Brooks, Kavli marketing director, says: "Our ongoing research with consumer focus groups, as well as Primula's online community, has identified a ready market for a reduced-fat variant."
Focus On Cheese