The UK Cheddar market is getting back into better balance after more than a year of oversupply.
Following manufacturing cuts in England and Wales of 24% in October and 37% in November, the latest DEFRA analysis shows a further cut on the previous year of 25% in December. Manufacturers report further cuts in January.
In Ireland, the main source of UK Cheddar imports, cheese make was down nearly 10% in the year to December and no growth is expected this year. As a result, the supply of Mild Cheddar is in some danger of getting tight.
In the past two to three weeks, asking prices for Mild Cheddar have been edging up from around £1,850 per tonne to a new minimum of £1,900 per tonne. Suppliers expect this minimum to advance further, possibly even to £2,000 by April. Some major buyers are seeking forward cover for six to eight months ahead.