Cheese maker’s milk concerns may lift despite future uncertainty

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cheese Milk

As a growing number of European dairy groups streamline their cheese operations to offset milk supply concerns, a leading manufacturer says there may be hope on the horizon for the industry regarding costs.

Arla Foods spokesperson, Astrid Gade Nielsen, told that scarcity in milk supply, which forced it to cut production by 6,200 tonnes at the end of last year, had alleviated in recent months.

However, she said that improvements in milk supply would not necessarily result in a market turnaround just yet, as growth in demand for products such as milk powder may place further pressure on the amount of milk being supplied for cheese production.

But she claimed that milk prices ralated to cheese manufacture compared to other products was expected to balance out in accordance with demand in the long run.

Nielsen said that Arla would announce its plans regarding future cheese production levels in the coming months.

Dairy Crest Stilton sale

The claims come as a growing number of manufacturers in the bloc have made drastic cuts and changes to their cheese output over the last few months in a bid to offset cost pressures.

Just last week, UK-based Dairy Crest announced that it was offloading its stilton and specialty cheese business to Long Clawson Dairy Limited in a bid to concentrate on its core branded products like Cathedral City cheddar.

While a spokesperson for Dairy Crest said that the sale of stilton brands and its respective production plant were not directly linked to cost concerns, he conceded that the decision reflected a market shift towards premium dairy brands.

The sale has resulted in Dairy Crest selling off its stilton and speciality cheese operations, including blue stilton and added value products such as white stilton with apricots, which were not seen as major sellers compared to its other brands.

“The sale will allows us to concentrate on our bigger brands like Cathedral City cheddar,”​ the spokesperson stated. “There are costs pressures throughout the dairy industry, which we believe we are well positioned to deal with.”

Cheese issues

European cheese production has faced its fair share of difficulties over the last 12 months.

Last November, Campina revealed it was offloading production of its goat's cheese production to the joint venture group Amalthea van Dijk to concentrate on making cow’s milk-based goods.

In September, Arla Foods said it was cutting cheese production by 6,200 tonnes gong into 2008 in a drive to better deal with a dwindling global supply of raw milk.

The group said that production of edam, danbo, fontal, havarti and rindless cheese were all reduced as part of the focus.

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