Volumes leapt from 21,600 tonnes to 28,200 tonnes, mainly due to a boost in Cheddar imports from 7,600 tonnes to 11,400 tonnes, with Irish shipments jumping by over 3,000 tonnes or 70%.
Shipments into the UK of speciality cheeses continued their long-term upward trend with growth of 15% both in May and for the first five months of the year when 77,000 tonnes were imported.
In the same five-month period, UK exports of cheese rose 42% to reach a record total of 35,400 tonnes, with EU countries being the main growth sector.
Imports of butter during May were virtually unchanged from last year at 9,300.
Asda has decided to extend Definitely Devon branded milk to a further six more West Country stores. The regional branded milk is now stocked in eight of the retailer’s stores, from Plymouth to Bristol.
The move is a major coup for the Torrington based farmer co-operative Definitely Devon, and follows a major TV ad campaign which ran across the region.
The farmers are further supporting the milk with tasting sessions in all eight Asdas.
Producers are warning of a potential shortage of organic eggs due to increasing costs.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association said new EU rules mean organic farmers will have to reduce the number of hens they keep on existing farms and meet new standards for feeding and rearing.
The group estimates an increased cost of 35p a dozen over the next three years which would mean a supermarket price rise of 70p a dozen.
Many farmers are now considering abandoning organic production. John Widdowson, vice chairman of BFREPA, said: “The future now looks very uncertain.”