With the nation’s love of cheese showing no signs of slowing, and Christmas on the horizon (well, for the hospitality industry at least) operators should look to capitalise on this in their offering.
Stocking an array of traditional favourites alongside a mix of exciting new flavours is the key to ensure a slice of the market. Savvy chefs are also devising clever ways to make the traditional cheese board even more enticing, as the range of accompaniments grows ever more sophisticated, in keeping with the latest food trends.
So, what cheese is the nation after?
Cheddar has retained a strong lead according to our latest annual condiments survey, scoring two-thirds of British votes as the nation’s favourite cheese (68%). Another British classic, Red Leicester, climbed the ranks to second place. Mozzarella was relegated to fourth position, but Britain certainly maintains a penchant for foreign offerings, with Brie, Camembert and Feta all featuring in the top 101.
As well as this fondness for European cheeses, our tastes are expanding further. Food retail group, Nisa highlighted analysis of its sales earlier this year and indicated the purchase of ethnic foods had increased by 6% over the previous six months and this trend looks set to continue2. Statista reported the ethnic food category has grown to a current value of around US$12.5bn (£9.5bn) across the pond too3, making it clear that, as more and more nations explore other cultures, interest in exotic tastes will increase as well.
Naturally, we’re also seeing a rise in the popularity of cheese accompaniments. Our survey also revealed that pickle is in fact the nation’s first choice, followed by crackers and then chutney4. The International Cheese Awards even included an extra category for accompaniments this year, including classes for chutneys, charcuterie and crackers, to acknowledge this trend. With diners prepared to try different tastes and more combinations than ever before, this opens up a wonderful chance for operators to make headway with menu refreshes, updating their cheese boards to match.
Evolving menus are an absolute necessity to keep up with today’s consumer demands, but they can cause a headache in the kitchen as chefs try to match the pace. The trick to getting this right is to make the chef’s life easier, while still giving customers everything they want. Using the Branston range of pickles, relishes and chutneys takes the guess-work out of cheese board accompaniments and is guaranteed to bring something exciting to the table.
After all, cheese and pickle is a match made in heaven!
1 Mizkan, annual condiments survey, 2017
2 Nisa, Tasting the Orient, 2018
3 Statista, U.S. retail sales of ethnic foods 2013-2018, 2018
4 Mizkan, annual condiments survey, 2017