Cheddar imports into the UK have plummeted in 2011, with volumes down nearly 20% during the first seven months of this year.

Between January and July, 53,623 tonnes of foreign Cheddar came into the UK, 17% less year-on-year. Imports from Ireland and Commonwealth countries showed steep declines, with Irish Cheddar down 11% year-on-year, New Zealand Cheddar down 76% and Australian Cheddar down 82%. 

Canada, which sent 88 tonnes of Cheddar to the UK from January to July 2010, did not send any in the first seven months of this year. 

Julie MacLeod, senior dairy market analyst at DairyCo, said imports had fallen because of the unfavourable exchange rate between sterling and the euro, and because Irish and New Zealand producers had switched from Cheddar to butter and milk powder production.