TAKING OFF THE WRAPS: BIG IDEAS FOR LITTLE CHEESES Processed cheeses own the second largest share of the UK market, according to the British Cheese Board, which represents 32 speciality cheesemakers. At 51,000t, it's a significant and growing sector worth £160m, to which Kavli, the Primula brand owner is contributing a relaunched range of cheese spreads in user friendly plastic tubes. "This is a cleaner and more efficient presentation ­ and the risk of leaks is drastically reduced," says Kavli marketing manager Craig Brooks. The brand is being supported with national and consumer press advertising through the summer. In addition, a merchandiser offer is available to independents, giving them additional volumes of free product to keep the display topped up. A Pepperoni flavoured tube is being added to the cheese spread range, while a limited edition barbecue flavour Primula Dip will be available just for the summer season. With one eye firmly on the lunchbox market, Port Salut has been launched in slices. Packs of six, in two variants give 120g of product, with an RSP of £1.29. "Port Salut already has a 53% share of a £4.5m market," says brand manager Jean-Noël Darniche. "The introduction of slices confirms the versatility of our product." Celebrating its centenary this year, Hartington creamery produces a range of traditional blue cheeses, to which it has added Blue Buxton, Dovedale and Blue Wensleydale. Meanwhile, the Dairy Crest creamery is working on new products designed to appeal to younger consumers: lighter flavours, smaller portions and an emphasis on sophisticated snacking are the priorities. And Stilton creamery Long Clawson is poised to launch a new resealable pack for its combination cheeses: White Stilton with Apricot, Innkeeper's Choice and Cotswold. The fan-shaped container is designed to reduce the risk of taint and is supplied in shelf-ready packs of six. According to Colin Chapman, commercial director of Horlicks Farm, the UK subsidiary of the Irish Dairygold, which has developed its own resealable packaging, such innovation is as important as product development. "We need to anticipate what shoppers will be looking for," he says. "Not only should they get consistent quality cheese, but they should be able to choose from variable weight pre-packs as light as 113g [4oz]." He is concerned that the move to every day low pricing and special deals will put commercial pressure on manufacturers to change recipes and cheapen their products. "It is up to brand owners to maintain standards which will ensure that consumers do not slowly lose faith in product categories," he says. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}