UK cheese exports fall as imports increase

The UK exported 75% more butter in the first quarter of 2013 than the same period last year, according to the latest figures from DairyCo.

Sales totalled 5,578t from January to March, with exports to all destinations showing a major increase on the year. Exports in March reached 1,885t – 64% up on last year.

In contrast, cheese exports fell by 7%, to 10,340t in March. Sales for the first quarter were down by 4.8%, to 30,266t. “The decrease in exports can be attributed to decreases in cheddar (3.1%) and other cheeses (6.6%),” said the DairyCo report.

Imports of cheddar increased by 11.5%, to 8,081t in March, with speciality cheese rising by 0.6% to 27,693t. Cumulatively, cheddar imports increased by 16% in the first quarter, to 24,366t, driven by more sales from Ireland and Oceania.

However, butter imports fell by 14% on the year, to 4,703t in March. In the first quarter, imports from New Zealand and Denmark declined by 30% and 8%, respectively, with overall purchases down by 4.8%, to 13,186t. “Imports of butter from Ireland increased by 1,159t (18.6%) over the same period.”

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