Retailers have not yet reacted to intense lobbying from dairy farmers and processors to secure retail price increases on cheese to help pay for added milk supply chain costs.
One stumbling block is thought to be Tesco, because of the amount of cheese it brings in from abroad. The multiple imports around half its overall supply from Ireland.
Rival retailers are reportedly concerned that if the cheese price were to move, Tesco would simply pocket the rise on the imports.
But that is not an issue, according to Farmers For Action boss David Handley, who said he was working with Tesco and Irish farming representatives to ensure any extra money was passed back to milk producers in the Republic. He remains optimistic that the price will rise. “Things are moving in the right direction,” he insisted this week.
Meanwhile, The Cheese Company has won its first contract to supply Tesco. The initial volume of cheese is small, at around 2,000 tonnes a year. But the move could be strategically important for the company.
Parent company Milk Link has a tough two years ahead of it, during which loan repayments will peak for its acquisition of £100m-worth of processing assets.