Sales of French soft cheeses are soaring in Britain, but hard cheeses from across the Channel are suffering as consumers favour premium ingredients.

Exports of French cheeses to the UK were up 2.1% in value last year to €306m, according to French government figures. However volumes fell 2.2% as the stronger euro hit sales. Camembert sales rose 23% and Brie was up 4.5%, but sales of hard cheeses plummeted 23.8%.

The shift towards more premium soft cheeses came as consumers were prepared to spend more for home cooking ingredients, according to Camille Mancelle, UK key account manager for supplier Isigny Ste-Mère.

"There is certainly an opportunity for some convenience retailers to 'premiumise' their range by offering shoppers an enhanced offering of brands that will encourage their shoppers to trade up more frequently," she added.