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Ab-brie-ciating British cheese

UK public dont know enough about their native cheeses…

Almost 99% (98.5%) of Brits have no idea how many cheeses are made in Britain, almost 1 in 10 dont know that milk is the main ingredient in cheese and the average person buys just 2 different types of cheese each month, says research [1] released by the British Cheese Board to mark the start of British Cheese Week (25 September – 3 October).

Despite the fact that research [2] has shown that almost two thirds of adults claim that cheese is one of their favourite foods, the vast majority have no idea how many different named cheeses are made in Britain. Today, the British Cheese Boards survey[1]  shows just how much Britain has to learn about the cheese made on its doorstep:

  • Nearly 10% of people are unaware that milk is the main ingredient in cheese, rising to nearly a quarter of 16-24 year olds; the rest suggest it could be cream, mould, water or egg

  • The average Brit buys only two types of cheese per month and a fifth buy only one. The over 45s are the most adventurous but still only purchase three types of cheese each month.

  • Most people are unaware of how many cheeses are now made in Britain, with 76% believing that the UK produces fewer than 200 cheeses and the average number guessed at 153. Almost one in ten people think that Britain makes fewer than 10 and less than 2% (1.5%) estimate correctly that we actually produce over 700 named cheeses in the UK.

  • Most people are also oblivious of the huge range of cheeses made in Britain three quarters of people dont realise that Camembert, Mozzarella and Ricotta are all made in Britain, despite the fact that British Mozzarella is the second most consumed and produced cheese in the UK, largely thanks to the pizza industry, whilst our Brie and Camembert are a match for any made in the world.

  • Brits are especially baffled by the goats cheese, Gevrik, with almost 9 in 10 (88%) unaware that its a cheese; 6% assuming it to be a brand of ale; and 5% a breed of bird

  • Cornish Yarg is also a mystery to many (64%), with nearly half (43%) of those from the South West, including Cornwall, pleading ignorant about their native curd, 4% believing it to be a breed of goat and 3% a folk dance

To celebrate the variety and quality of British cheeses, the British Cheese Board is constructing the Worlds Greatest Cheeseboard featuring over 100 different cheeses. The cheeseboard will be on show at the Great British Cheese Festival at Cardiff Castle, which is taking place on 25 and 26 September.

Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board said:

We know that the nation love Cheddar, but we were disappointed to see that so few people are aware of the wonderful range of cheese produced here in the UK clearly we have  a challenging task to help people understand the range of fabulous cheeses available. There are more than 700 named cheeses currently being made in the UK, many of which are available in local supermarkets and farmers markets. We are urging people to try the wide range of British cheeses available, as well as buying their usual British Cheddar.

Cheese lovers who think they know their Shropshire Blue from their Cornish Yarg can test their knowledge on the British Cheese Boards cheese quiz on the BCB Facebook page ( Each morning of British Cheese Week a new question will be unveiled on the page, and the answer revealed at the end of the day.

  • Footnote 1) The research was carried out for the British Cheese Board by OpinionMatters between 07/09/2010 and 15/09/2010 with a sample of 1,710 UK adults
  • Footnote 2) TNS Phonebus research was carried  out in January 2010 for the British Cheese Board
  • The British Cheese Board (BCB) is a promotional and educational body for cheese. The BCB aims to increase awareness of cheese in the UK, and cheese made by its members in particular, as part of a healthy, balanced diet
  • BCB members account for the majority of cheese produced in the UK. The work of the BCB is also supported by associate members who are involved in the cheese supply chain
  • Find out more at the British Cheese Board (BCB) website (
  • The Great British Cheese Festival takes place at Cardiff Castle on 25 and 26 September
  • The Great British Cheese Festival is the UKs largest cheese show. Recognised as one of Frommers 300 Unmissable Events and Festivals Around the World, the show packs in much more than cheese with fine foods from Wales and around the UK to put together a picnic in the castle grounds, and delicious CAMRA selected beers in the Cardiff Arms to wash them down with.
  • There is a whole programme of master classes and demonstrations across the weekend where visitors can learn about the art of cheese making, how to match certain wines and drinks with cheese and many other associated topics. And to work off the calories there is plenty of cheesy fun and games, including Cheese Skittles and Cheese Tossing on the castle green.

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