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Cheddar imports rising

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There has been a particularly large increase in the size of the trade deficit for cheddar, resulting from a noticeable increase in imports.

The trade deficit for cheddar improved between 2016 and 2017, because of both lower imports and some growth in exports. All of the export growth came from shipping more to EU destinations, as exports to non-EU countries fell year on year.

During January to June 2018, more cheddar has been shipped to non-EU destinations (such as SE Asia and the Middle East), while shipments to the EU were much the same as volumes sent in the second half of 2017.

Cheddar imports have been rising steadily over the past 18 months. The vast majority of this originates from the EU, particularly from Ireland. During the first half of 2018, imports increased 6% from the previous six-month period. This is much higher than any growth in exports.