pilgrims choice

Adams Foods is to “effectively halve” the number of creameries it uses to make Pilgrims Choice mature and extra mature as it stops sourcing from Australia and New Zealand for the variants.

The move to UK and Irish-sourced cheese would come into effect next week, said director of marketing Mike Harper, although some other variants of the Cheddar brand would continue to use certain amounts of cheese from New Zealand and Australia to balance supplies.

The decision to switch to UK and Ireland supply had been made as part of a fresh focus on “consistent quality and taste”, he said.

Ornua-owned Adams Foods has previously come under fire from some farmers over its policy of sourcing Cheddar from a number of countries, including Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, for Pilgrims Choice. Last year, Farmers for Action blockaded its HQ for “undercutting UK operators” - which led the brand to amend its packaging to include a clearer reference to its provenance.

“This is a quality play, not just a provenance play,” said Harper, “but we have also listened to criticism [from farmers] over how we source cheese for the brand.”

The move was welcomed by NFU chief dairy adviser Sian Davies, though she added: “It would be even better if Adams had a bespoke British Cheddar offering.”

Pilgrims Choice value is up 7% on volume up 20% since it rebranded earlier this year [IRI 52 w/e 7 November].