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British cheese sales outpace continental

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There are signs that the love affair with continental cheese is dwindling, as the latest research from Mintel shows that British varieties are gaining in popularity.

Sales of regional British cheese, including Lancashire, Cheshire and Red Leicester, increased by 16 per cent between 2004 and 2006, with consumers no longer regarding Brie and Camembert - once the height of luxury - as more than an "everyday staple", according to Mintel's David Bird.

The fact that continental cheese has become commonplace has meant that prices have fallen and market value declined by seven per cent to £340 million, according to the senior consumer analyst, while the market for regional British cheese is now worth £220 million and is showing no sign of slowing.

"With growing interest in environmental and ethical concerns we are becoming increasingly interested in the origin of our food. As a result we are seeing a growing trend towards 'buying British', which has provided a huge boost for sales of British regional cheese," Mr Bird explained.

In addition, the analyst noted that many British manufacturers have added fruits, liqueurs and even curry to extend their ranges.

"This has really caught the imagination of cheese customers and has lead to the rise in sales of locally produced cheese," he said.

The British cheese market was worth a whopping £1.9 billion by the end of 2006, with cheddars accounting for 52 per cent of all sales.ADNFCR-858-ID-18288753-ADNFCR

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