Source: Cheesegeek/Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s will offer gifting boxes in addition to the six-strong range of cheeses

Sainsbury’s has partnered with subscription cheesemonger Cheesegeek to launch a new range of British artisan cheeses.

An exclusive range of six seasonally rotating cheeses will roll into an initial 80 Sainsbury’s stores from 19 June. The retailer will also now offer a three-variety selection box of cheeses produced by independent British makers.

The partnership is the first time the cheesemonger has partnered with a major supermarket.

Cheesegeek said it aimed to make independent British cheese available to a “mainstream market”, to capitalise on what it said was a “boom” in demand for UK artisan cheese among shoppers.

The initial selection includes a red leicester, British brie, Alpine-style cheese, British gouda, blue cheese and a mature cheddar. Customers will be able to scan a QR code on the packaging to receive information about how each one is produced, as well as advice on pairing options like wine and chutney. 

Sainsbury’s plans to have expanded the offer to 100 stores by the end of October. The range will also be available via Cheesegeek’s e-commerce site. 

“This is the first time a specialist cheesemonger has curated a branded range of cheese for a mainstream supermarket in this way,” said Cheesegeek founder Edward Hancock.

“We want to make the finest specialty cheeses available and accessible to everyone at affordable prices, while also supporting independent British cheesemakers, who would otherwise not work directly with a multiple retailer,” he said. “This is about bringing local British cheese to everyone’s kitchen tables.” 

A former investment banker, Hancock founded Cheesegeek in 2017. The brand – which is backed by Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Steven Bartlett – initially focused its efforts on shipping cheeses direct to consumer. However, over half of the brand’s revenue now comes from supplying restaurants and other businesses.

It launched what was its first retail offering on London’s Regent Street, with a cheese counter at British-only department store Brityard in late 2023. In December, Hancock revealed that the brand had raised £420,000 aimed at expanding its retail presence. 

“We are creating an entry point to specialty cheese, at scale, using great branding and great products, none of which have been seen in mainstream supermarkets before,” Hancock said.

“Customers are increasingly looking for cheeses which they know have come from makers using sustainable and responsible farming practices, that taste fantastic and that the end product can be affordable,” he added.

The new range follows a recent revision by Sainsbury’s of its cheese category. In November, the retailer began trialling new self-serve continental cheese counter formats in a small number of stores.