So what does 2017 look like for the dairy sector, cheese importers and manufacturers? With further currency fluctuations, as well as Brexit continuing to play its part, price increases will of course be on the agenda.
However, consumers will continue to buy with emotion over price, when it comes to certain products and speciality cheese will continue to take advantage of this.
With 93% of cheese in the UK sold 'pre-packed' there is an opportunity to introduce new brands and flavours to the market. Can the speciality cheese sellers take advantage of this?
As in any difficult market though, innovation will continue to drive growth and this is how they must take advantage. Innovation can be simple (new packaging) through to complex new flavours. However, what will offer the quickest returns, based on trends?
Rarely has a year ahead looked so confused as when trying to predict the opportunity and challenges that face the dairy trade in 2017 For some it will be a nightmare of unknowns, for others in the speciality cheese trade I think it will be a good year. Currency for continental importers is still a major headache, slipping as it has more than 15%, albeit ‘Trump power’ has seen it rise a few percent. Brexit and Article 50, dependent on a legal case, the challenges of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, and the mischief making of so many, leaves Sterling on a rollercoaster, predicted at par one to- one and 1.24 depending on whose view you take. It’s no recipe for stable trading, and importers will still be on tenterhooks wondering whether to cover forward or not.